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Modi warns against England IPL ‘part-timers’

Indian Premier League (IPL) chief Lalit Modi has delivered a stark warning to England’s Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff - either commit to us or forget about playing in the lucrative Twenty20 event.

Both of England’s two most high-profile players are understood to want to play some part in the franchise competition, which has attracted leading cricketers from around the world.

But the duo have been effectively barred thus far by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) because of a fixture clash with England’s home international programme.And with that log-jam unlikely to be cleared in the near future, Modi said he did not expect teams to bid for either England captain Pietersen or leading all-rounder Flintoff in the next round of player auctions. “Are the franchise owners happy for Kevin Pietersen to play a handful of matches and then go away?” Modi told December’s Wisden Cricketer magazine.

“I don’t think anybody would be happy with that. He wouldn’t add any value and would be more of a disruption. It takes time to gel with team-mates.”

Modi said only by guaranteeing their availability for a sizeable part of the IPL season could Pietersen and Flintoff expect to be involved.

“They need to be there for 15 or 16 matches - substantial numbers of games. If you ask, ‘Is that practical?’, I don’t think it is currently.” Modi, vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said the only way to get England players into the IPL was if the ECB altered the start date of the English season. “If we can’t agree for the next year, I hope we can agree something for the next (International Cricket Council) Future Tours Programme, so we can move our tournament further forward and the ECB can move their season - so they sit further apart.”

Modi also warned the ECB it would have to shift the dates of the English season, freeing-up players to appear in the IPL, if it wanted to see top India players appearing in the inaugural English Premier League in 2010. “The ECB want us to give clearance to 20 centrally-contracted Indian players to play in the English Premier League,” Modi said.

“But we would be creating competition for ourselves. If we get back something of value then we will consider it.

But it comes back to the same question - what is the availability of English players for the IPL?” Pietersen and Flintoff are both currently touring India where they managed just five runs between on Tuesday them as England suffered an embarrassing 124-run defeat against a Mumbai club side.

England’s seven-match one-day international series against India starts in Rajkot on Friday. After the one-dayers, the teams play two Tests in Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

England’s participation in this month’s Stanford Series in the Caribbean was explained, in part, by many observers as a way of making the lure of the IPL less attractive for their players.

But England suffered a 10-wicket thrashing in Antigua at the hands of the Stanford Superstars, a team made-up of West Indian players, and so missed out on the one million dollars a man given to members of the winning XI.

LONDON, Thursday AFP


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