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Flintoff keen to join IPL in 2009


Andrew Flintoff would welcome the chance to play in the IPL

All-rounder Andrew Flintoff wants to join the Indian Premier League next season because he believes England will benefit from extra Twenty20 experience.

England slumped to defeat in their one-day series with India as the hosts took an unassailable 4-0 lead on Sunday.

Flintoff told BBC Sport: "They (India's players) played in the IPL and have brought that into the 50-over game.

"I'd be keen to have a go at it on the Indian pitches, with the Indian players and international cricketers."

England captain Kevin Pietersen, who is also keen to play in the lucrative IPL, praised the "freedom" of India's batting style after watching his side struggle to compete.

Flintoff is certain England could match their flair if they were able to play Twenty20 cricket at the elite level by joining the IPL.

"It is possibly now an important development in a player's life," added the Lancashire man.

"It's something I think our players would be keen to do. We've got to expand our game a little bit. The basics are there, we just need to turn it up a notch.

"India are very well-drilled and confident coming into this series and we've been pretty much out-played in each department."

However former England captain Geoffrey Boycott told BBC Radio 5 Live that missing one season of the IPL was no excuse for the current failure by Kevin Pietersen's men in India.

Andrew Flintoff  in action for England against India
Flintoff scored a quickfire 41 in 30 balls in England's defeat on Sunday

Boycott said: "I'd stop making excuses. The England players would like to play in [the IPL] because they want to earn a lot of money, but let's not pretend that's the reason they're not doing well in India.

"The coach - how many ODIs or Test matches did he play in the subcontinent? Pietersen needs help, he's not as experienced in Indian conditions as many other players.

"I don't think they thought it out very well about the Indian pitches. The subcontinent pitches are different. They're flat and the ball doesn't get much above stump high.

"You know that spinners are going to be prominent. All these factors you should know in advance."

In any event, the desire of Flintoff and co to play a significant amount of IPL cricket may be frustated.

England have not yet reached agreement with India over the release of players for the 2009 IPL campaign, which is expected to begin on 10 April and run until 29 May.

Those dates would clash with the first two Tests of the English summer - whether against West Indies or Sri Lanka. And because it is a long-term ECB plan to schedule two Tests in May, centrally-contracted players may only get a handful of IPL matches each year.

ECB chiefs held the latest in a series of meeting with IPL chairman Lalit Modi in Mumbai last weekend.

Modi wants to keep the IPL window between mid-April and late May, though he is listening to a request to make Indian players available for the English Premier League when it starts in 2010.

They would be traded in exchange for England players moving in the opposite direction.

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see also
No agreement on England IPL deal
16 Nov 08 |  England
England stars set for IPL chance
24 Oct 08 |  England
Sri Lanka's England tour in doubt
23 Oct 08 |  Sri Lanka
Gough in talks over IPL contract
30 Sep 08 |  Cricket
England in India 2008
23 Nov 08 |  Cricket

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