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Monday, November 17, 2008

England wants to spare players for 15 days

So why did the talks between Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) not make too much of a headway with regard to the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The reason is not one but many. The first and the foremost was the limited availability of the English players for the IPL. It is learnt that the ECB has reservations in releasing its centrally contracted players for too long. According to sources, in both Indian and English Board, the ECB was willing to let Kevin Pietersen & Co play in the IPL for just about 15-20 days. This was not acceptable to the IPL, as its franchisees want foreign recruits to play more number of games.

With a series against Sri Lanka scheduled in early May, the ECB is unwilling to let its stars participate for the full length of the IPL.

Another point pertains to ECB’s T20 league, which is set to start some time next year. The ECB, it is learnt, wants at least 20-25 Indian players to play in their league. But at the same time, the ECB is not willing to allow their players to participate in the IPL beyond a maximum of 20 days.

There is apprehension on Indian side, particularly among the franchisees, that too many Indian cricketers in the ECB’s league could attract sponsors. If companies invest money in ECB’s T20 league it could take away a chunk of the money they could be invested in the IPL. “That is a concern surely,” said a CEO of a top franchisee.

The Indian Board has been silent whether or not it will allow its players in the England league. Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman, could not be contacted for comment.
“We will continue our talks with the BCCI. It is not right to say the talks have not made any headway,” ECB CEO David Collier

Meanwhile, the ECB has turned down a request from the BCCI for a delayed start of the two-Test series. BCCI wanted the first of the two Tests to start a day later, which is on December 12, as Indian skipper MS Dhoni could be involved in the final of the Champions League T20 scheduled for December 10 in Chennai.

The BCCI has already turned down a similar request from the ECB to shift the 6th ODI from Guwahati. The Board has told the ECB that its rotation policy cannot permit a change of venue. But the ECB, one learns, is not too happy with the decision.

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