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Page last updated at 16:41 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 17:41 UK

ECB chief rejects Pietersen plea

Kevin Pietersen and Giles Clarke
Clarke (right) says England players will not risk competing in the IPL

England cricket boss Giles Clarke has dismissed Kevin Pietersen's plea to let centrally contracted players appear in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Pietersen says it is "ridiculous" that England stars are not allowed to compete in the new 20-over competition.

But Clarke told BBC Radio 5 Live: "There won't be any centrally contracted players playing in it.

"We aren't changing our season under any circumstances - there's no possibility of us doing it."

Clarke, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), added: "I can't see any England player wishing to take the risk of losing his England place.

"Our centrally contracted players have very heavy workloads, so we need to be realistic here."

It's silly to think that you're losing up to a million (dollars) over six weeks

Kevin Pietersen

Twelve England players, including star names like Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff, Paul Collingwood, Ryan Sidebottom and Michael Vaughan, were handed 12-month central contracts in September 2007.

England's centrally contracted players are the only international cricketers unable to cash in on the riches available in the new tournament.

The first IPL competition runs from 18 April to 1 June and the top earners, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Andrew Symonds, will earn more than 500,000 for six weeks' work.

Pietersen told The Times on Saturday that England players should be allowed to compete in the IPL next season.

"It's definitely something that the hierarchy needs to fix into our fixtures," he said.

"You want your best players playing both for their country and for the IPL. You don't want them choosing between the two.

"It's silly to think that you're losing up to a million (dollars) over six weeks."

However, Clarke insisted the ECB would not be budging on the subject.

"The only county player who has gone off is Dimitri Mascarenhas," he said.

"No other county has indicated that they wish to release a player for the IPL - it's worth people considering that rather interesting fact."

606: DEBATE
cubancricket

Hampshire all-rounder Mascarenhas has played at one-day and Twenty20 level for England, but is not on a central contract.

"I'm sure the ECB will loosen their stance in time once they see the tournament and more England players say they want to play," Mascarenhas told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Clarke said no England player would risk losing his place by competing in the IPL, recalling the example of former England skipper Tony Greig choosing to play in Kerry Packer's breakaway World Series Cricket in the late 1970s.

"The last time there were issues of this nature, Mr Greig gave up playing for England, probably because he thought he could get back in easily, and then Ian Botham appeared," he said.

Players' boss Sean Morris has warned "money will talk" if players are not given the chance of competing in the IPL.

Morris, the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA), warned that the England team could be "decimated of its stars" if this does not happen.

"There is a very real threat here, and it's not from the ECB," Morris told Five Live Sport last month.

"It's perfectly natural for the PCA to want our members to take advantage of the IPL - it's a unique opportunity."




see also
England in New Zealand 2008
26 Mar 08 |  Cricket
ECB rejects player applications
20 Mar 08 |  England
Prior not given central contract
10 Sep 07 |  England


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