Sri Lanka in England 2009 October 14, 2008

Sri Lanka exit opens up Pietersen for IPL


Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff: are they IPL-bound if Sri Lanka don't tour in 2009? © Getty Images
 

With the possible abandonment of Sri Lanka's tour of England next year, Kevin Pietersen is just one high-profile player who could reap the financial benefits by appearing in the IPL. In an interview with Cricinfo last week, the England captain - who has yet to play in the IPL or its unsanctioned cousin, the ICL - spoke openly about his stance on cricket's most lucrative, if divisive, tournament.

Asked whether he would accept a deal with an IPL franchise should one come calling, Pietersen said: "Yes. I think it's just a natural progression. The benefiting factor for me as England captain is that the last few days we've sat down and talked about the Twenty World Cup next year which we want to try and win. And I want as many of our guys playing the format as possible.

"To play in the IPL means they'll get experience and really learn their skills, play with different players, and I think that'll be hugely beneficial. Five or six games out in India [in the IPL] will be brilliant for their experience, so for me as captain, it's encouraging to know they'll have more games under their belt."

For all the money involved, and the worthy justification of using tournaments such as the IPL as a warm-up for the Twenty20 World Cup, Pietersen was adamant his foremost interest lay with England. "We want to win every game we play for England," he said. "We're playing for the badge and we want to win."

Will Luke is a staff writer at Cricinfo