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March 27, 2008
Five New Zealand players signed with the Indian Premier League have been given permission to miss the opening two matches of the England tour so they can appear in more lucrative Twenty20 games. In another shift from tradition caused by the IPL, Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram, Ross Taylor and Kyle Mills will arrive after the one-day warm-up against MCC on April 27 and the three-day fixture with Kent.
The delay means the quintet will be able to turn out in more matches - and gain larger payments - for the IPL teams, which start the competition on April 18. New Zealand Cricket wants the men in England by May 1 so they can be involved in the clashes with Essex and England Lions before the first Test at Lord's on May 15.
Justin Vaughan, the NZC chief executive, called the decision "fair" and the move was backed by the country's players' association. "When the itinerary for the England tour was put in place it was not envisaged that a number of our players would be playing quality cricket in India," Vaughan said. "For players that are playing a high standard of international cricket two weeks is a good level of preparation."
Vaughan said the IPL had the board's full support and the changing global landscape meant flexibility in decision making was required. "I am very happy with the attitude shown by the affected players," he said. "They have shown loyalty and commitment to New Zealand and were willing to abide by whatever decision NZC reached."
Oram and Mills will face further scrutiny with their playing choices over the next month as they both missed the third Test against England with injury. Oram is recovering from a hip problem while Mills has a torn calf muscle and any more mishaps during the IPL would intensify the country-versus-money issue.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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