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Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 12:15 UK

England IPL ban 'will not work'

By Oliver Brett

G Gooch
Gooch says the integrity of Test cricket must be preserved

Cricket bosses are fighting a losing battle in trying to stop England's top stars from appearing in the Indian Premier League, says Graham Gooch.

Gooch said the decision to stop centrally contracted players from earning the riches on offer in India was not a long-term option.

"Accommodation will be made between our board and the players," the former England captain told BBC Sport.

"There's a lot of sabre rattling but it will all be sorted out in the end."

Gooch, England's all-time leading run scorer in Test cricket, said something would have to give as players would not be happy to turn down the riches on offer in the IPL, India's official Twenty20 league

"I don't think people will want to be at loggerheads with each other," he said.

"Either players on central contracts will have to have their remuneration greatly enhanced or they will have to be accommodated within the contract."

The England and Wales Cricket Board has refused to let any of the 12 centrally contracted players sign up for the first season of the IPL.

Ryan Sidebottom, named on Wednesday as one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year, said he would love to play in the IPL - if the ECB relented.

The England bowler told BBC Radio 5 Live: "It's down to England and I'm contracted to them.

"The calendar is very hectic and to play for England you represent your country and I'm concentrating on that.

"If there is a window for the IPL then I would love to play in it, of course."

Hampshire all-rounder Dimitri Mascarenhas, who has played for England at one-day and Twenty20 level, is the only English player set to appear in the IPL.

The IPL developed rapidly in importance while Michael Vaughan's team were on tour in New Zealand in February and March, but the ECB said there was not enough time for the players to go to India between the end of their winter cricket and the home series against New Zealand in May.


Star batsman Kevin Petersen has called for England players to be allowed to feature in the tournament, with the league's top earners set to earn more than 500,000 for six weeks' work.

The ECB has continued to distance itself from the IPL, despite other national boards allowing some of the game's top names to represent Indian teams from 18 April to 1 June.

ECB chairman Giles Clarke said: "There won't be any centrally contracted players playing in [the IPL]. I can't see any England player wishing to take the risk of losing his England place."

And he suggested the same would be true in 2009, as he wants players to rest before the Ashes summer.

Gooch said it was vital that cricket administrators worked alongside IPL rather than against it.

"The biggest worry is that this commercial aspect of the game is great for the players and the public but in no way do we want to see it impinge on the integrity of the game, Test cricket in particular," he said.

Issues will be sorted out as to when England players could play in it and if the opportunity arrives to play in it I'm sure people will play

Alastair Cook

"You've got to have a situation where they operate side-by-side."

Gooch coaches two England batsmen in Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara at Essex.

"I am sure they'll all want to get involved to maximise their earning capacity," he said.

"The worst-case scenario is that players choose between signing a contract for the IPL or signing a contract with England.

"But you pick your strongest side whether or not [certain players] are contracted to the IPL."

Cook rejoins Essex for their second match of the 2008 season, away to Derbyshire in a four-day game from 23 April.

The England opener said the IPL was "excellent for cricket" and as such could "only benefit the sport" if the first season proves a success.

Cook added: "Issues will be sorted out as to when England players could play in it and if the opportunity arrives to play in it I'm sure people will play."

see also
ECB chief rejects Pietersen plea
07 Apr 08 |  England
Cricket's new order
29 Feb 08 |  Cricket
Will India's cricket league work?
27 Feb 08 |  South Asia

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