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Page last updated at 08:23 GMT, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 09:23 UK

England bosses soften IPL stance

Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen has described the ECB's stance as "ridiculous"

English cricket chiefs have softened their stance on the Indian Premier League, insisting centrally-contracted players are not banned from playing.

They had been told the earliest they could play in the IPL was 2010.

An ECB spokesman said team director Hugh Morris will decide which players can be released - but England fixtures will always take precedence.

He said: "The ECB has never stated that centrally-contracted players are banned from the IPL."

The head of the Professional Cricketers' Association Sean Morris said: "There will be a little bit of a window when the England players return from the West Indies.

"They will then be able to participate in possibly the last two weeks of that (IPL) tournament in 2009."

The first six-week competition, which starts in Bangalore on Friday, features most of the world's top players, including Sachin Tendulkar, Andrew Symonds, Jacques Kallis and Chris Gayle.

606: DEBATE
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Morris told BBC's Radio 5 Live that England would benefit were they to allow the likes of Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen to play in India ahead of next year's World Twenty20, which is being held in England.

"I think they will play," he said. "It is going to be driven by market forces, the players will go and play Twenty20 cricket.

"It makes a lot of sense to allow them to play based on the fact that we've got the World Twenty20 coming up five weeks later.

"Don't we want our best player practising and competing in the leading domestic tournament at that time?"

Morris added: "The communication between the England players and the ECB has increased.

"There are so many positive from the players' point of view to come out of these Twenty20 tournaments that they can't refuse it.

Vaughan says England stars will play in IPL

"If you've got a family and you've been travelling the world for 10 months of the year and you've got the option to go an earn twice as much money for five weeks work, no one is going to reject that."

Michael Vaughan has already said it is inevitable that England stars will compete in the IPL, while Kevin Pietersen described not being allowed to play in the IPL as "ridiculous".

England captain Vaughan told BBC Sport: "We are naive to think England players aren't going to end up in the IPL.

"England players will end up in the IPL, whether it is next year or the year after."


see also
Counties in India's shadow
15 Apr 08 |  Counties
IPL founder warns England stars
15 Apr 08 |  Cricket
Indian Premier League team guide
15 Apr 08 |  Cricket
ECB chief rejects Pietersen plea
07 Apr 08 |  England


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