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Page last updated at 15:04 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

England stars clear for IPL deals


Collingwood explains IPL agreement

England stars are set to play in the Indian Premier League after the England and Wales Cricket Board agreed to release them for three weeks.

The move has prompted members of the squad to sign central contracts, which were first offered last September.

"They have been signed by the players and we are waiting on the IPL to come back with confirmation," said England all-rounder Paul Collingwood.

It is thought up to six England players could be involved in the IPL in April.

Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff are sure to be two of the hottest properties at the player auction on 6 February.

"Flintoff and Pietersen are very big names in India and certainly Pietersen enhanced his reputation there when he took the team back after the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

"Estimates suggest they could earn as much as $1m and there are add-on benefits like adverts," said BBC sports editor Mihir Bose.

The ECB had previously insisted it would only release England players for a two-week window, which Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi said was unacceptable.

A compromise now seems to have been reached, with players likely to be selected in England's squad for the first Test against the West Indies at Lord's starting on 6 May allowed to play in the IPL for up to 21 days.

The ECB will also ensure that its Test players are available for a three-week period in 2010.

"Their participation has to be for two years," Modi told BBC Sport.

"A particular franchise has a limit of international players in their squad. If they use an English player for this year, and he doesn't play next year, they will be wasting that space."

Any England players signed for the IPL but deemed unlikely to make the Test squad by the ECB would be available for up to 28 days.

The initial list of players for the next IPL auction will be published on Friday, with 27 January the closing date for additions.

All-rounder Samit Patel could fall into the second group, having already attracted interest from the Delhi Daredevils franchise, and he has already been told by his county side, Nottinghamshire, that he can take up an IPL contract.

Patel told BBC Radio 5 Live he would not turn down the chance to play.

"I think it's a great opportunity to play against the world's best players. It's all about taking the opportunities and making sure England do well in the Twenty20 World Cup," he said.

Despite some of the England squad potentially missing out on competing in the IPL, Patel added: "We've got a great bunch, there won't be a split."

Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff
Pietersen and Flintoff are coveted by IPL franchises

The second IPL season gets underway on 10 April, just seven days after England complete their current tour to the West Indies.

A return home series against the same opponents starts at Lord's on 6 May, which means England Test players competing in the IPL would arrive home just five days beforehand.

Sean Morris, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, told BBC Five Live that Test cricket remained the "pinnacle" for the England players.

"It's reasonably tight, but with the way the international schedule is these days, you're on a treadmill all the time.

"I think it fits well with [captain] Andrew Strauss's style - players have a personal responsibility, so they've got to come back raring to go."

But Morris added: "It was a question of there being lots of benefits to playing in the IPL against the best players in the world, so there was a question of how could we make it possible for them to take advantage of this.

"Everyone has had to be a bit flexible, so I'm delighted ECB have been and the players can participate as a result."

The IPL was launched last year after the eight team franchises were sold for 368m and TV rights packages for 500m.

James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Stephen Harmison, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Ryan Sidebottom, Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan
Matt Prior, Tim Ambrose, Ravi Bopara, Samit Patel, Owais Shah, Graeme Swann and Luke Wright have "incremental deals"
The player auction followed and the two biggest deals saw India captain Mahendra Dhoni signed by the Chennai Super Kings for 770,000 ($1.5m), and Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds join the Hyderabad-based Deccan Chargers for 694,000 ($1.35m).

The inaugural title was won, however, by Rajasthan Royals, captained by former Australia spin bowler Shane Warne.

"You can't get away from the fact that it's a big earner for the boys if you get a good deal, but there are other benefits," Collingwood told BBC Five Live.

"We've got a Twenty20 World Cup coming up in the summer and as international cricketers we haven't played too much Twenty20 cricket, so the more information we can gather, the more confidence we can gain from playing in these kind of tournaments [the better]."

One potential problem, however, concerns the participation of Indian players in the inaugural English Premier League (EPL) in 2010.

"There is a clause which the ECB has put as part of the players' contract, that's what I have been given to understand," said Modi.

"If an English player signs with a particular IPL franchise, the Indian players of that franchise must be made available to the EPL structure.

"I don't think our franchises can agree or deliver that. I don't think the IPL is going to be able to agree a quid pro quo agreement - that's not going to happen."

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see also
England stars set for IPL chance
24 Oct 08 |  England
Patel primed for IPL opportunity
09 Jan 09 |  England
No agreement on England IPL deal
16 Nov 08 |  England
Warne's Royals win inaugural IPL
02 Jun 08 |  Cricket
How will the IPL change cricket?
17 Apr 08 |  Cricket

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