Pressure grows on the ECB May 7, 2008

'The IPL is a massive draw' - Sajid Mahmood

Cricinfo staff

Sajid Mahmood: 'There is a hell of a lot of money on offer out there and a cricketer's career is a short one' © Getty Images
Sajid Mahmood has told the BBC that he believes it is only a matter of time before England players put the Indian Premier League ahead of representing their country.

"A lot of people on the circuit are saying the IPL is the way forward," Mahmood said. "My aim is and always has been to play for England, but if you're not getting in the side the IPL is a big carrot."

He said that two IPL franchises had approached him but, so far, he had rejected their overtures as he still has ambitions to play more for England. "That's the reason why I got into cricket in the first place and the desire is still burning brightly. I'm only 26, I've got a lot of years ahead of me in the game, and it would be great to spend those years representing my country and taking wickets ... [but] if things don't work out, the IPL is a massive draw. There's a hell of a lot of money on offer out there and a cricketer's career is a short one.

"There's not much I or anyone can really do at the moment, though, with the way things are. My aim is by the end of this year, three-quarters into the season, to be back in the England side. If not then I can start having a chat and see about looking at my options."

Mahmood's comments come a day after Ravi Bopara said that he had turned down IPL offers. Last month, Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, sent a clear message that players would not be allowed to join the IPL if it impinged on the English season, but that stance appears to becoming increasingly isolated and risks causing a showdown between players and board.

"If players can go out there, benefit financially as well as test themselves against the top players in the world, they can come back better for it," Mahmood told the BBC. "It's only three or four weeks out of the season."