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March 29, 2008
The Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) has refused to rule out the possibility of England's leading players joining the Indian Premier League (IPL). Only Dimitri Mascarenhas has so far signed up to the IPL, while the likes of Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen have poured water on suggestions that they and their team-mates could be lured to the IPL by money.
Currently, the IPL clashes with England's county season but Lalit Modi, its chairman, maintains his willingness to shift the dates of future tournaments in order to accommodate English players. The ECB chairman, Giles Clarke, strongly believes that England's players would rather play for their country than an Indian franchise, but Sean Morris, the PCA chief executive, is aware of the need for a balance.
"We will ask the players how they feel," he said. "We need to sit them down and ask their personal views - some might have different opinions to others. But I would like to think on behalf of the players we would be able to take advantage of this concept and allow them to reap the benefits.
"There may be a very strong collective view but there may also be different circumstances for each individual which would affect their decision. We have a very open dialogue with the ECB right now, we met this week and will be meeting with them again next week, so there is a strong channel of communication.
"Mr Modi is saying that he's prepared to move his tournament to accommodate English players and that is music to everyone's ears in this country."
The issue the PCA are trying to address with the ECB is the potential restriction of employment.
"Their priority is England, they've all said that," Morris said. "But I just hope we can come to a point where they're comfortable with their arrangement with the ECB as their employers and take advantage of the increase in income into the game, because you're a long time retired.
"Restricting employees anywhere will cause friction in a relationship - over a period of time that will break it down."
Meanwhile Dougie Brown, the PCA chairman, insisted that for all the players' loyalty to England, "IPL is not something that is going to go away - it's going to be around for 10 years" and the ECB need to act sharply.
"So we have to compartmentalise it within our own calendar, create a window of opportunity, or it will be a precarious situation that the ECB will find themselves in. You might find guys coming to the end of their careers will not sign a central contract, they will go and sign with the IPL instead. Suddenly you will be losing people a couple of years earlier than you might have."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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