England players have finally got their board’s approval for a three-week window to play in the Indian Premier League this season.
England and Wales Cricket Board agreed to release the players after months of negotiations with the players and the IPL officials.
England players are a favourite with the IPL franchise and at least six of them including Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff have already been sounded out by more than two teams.
The ECB had wanted to limit the players’ participation in the Twenty20 competition to 15 days, while Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman and commissioner, had insisted on players being available for four weeks, which would have meant them missing the first Test of the summer against West Indies. In the end, both parties agreed on three weeks.
“Their participation has to be for two years,” Modi said.
“A particular franchise has a limit of international players in their squad. If they use an English player for this year, and he does not play next year, they will be wasting that space,” he said.
The move has prompted players to sign central contracts, which were first offered last September.
“They have been signed by the players and we are waiting on the IPL to come back with confirmation,” said England all-rounder Paul Collingwood.
The window falls between the end of the tour of West Indies and the start of the return series at home in early May. It means that, if they take part, Flintoff and Pietersen won’t have any first-class cricket before the first Test at Lord’s on May 6.
Pietersen and Flintoff are sure to be two of the hottest properties at the player auction in February.
“Estimates suggest they could earn as much as $1million and there are add-on benefits like adverts,” the BBC report said.
Strauss said he would trust his players to make their own decisions on preparing for the Test series against West Indies.
“Players have to be fully prepared for a Test match,” he said.
It is thought up to six England players could be involved in the IPL in April.
The initial list of players for the next IPL auction will be published on Janaury 27, the closing date for additions.
All-rounder Samit Patel has already attracted interest from the Delhi Daredevils franchise, and he has been told by his county side, Nottinghamshire, that he can take up an IPL contract.
Patel said he would not turn down the chance to play.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to play against the world’s best players. It’s all about taking the opportunities and making sure England do well in the Twenty20 World Cup,” he said.