The viability of star English players Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff in the February 6 auction might be jeopardised because of the fact that the players have been allowed only a limited period of time to take part in the Indian Premier League, according to reports in London.
The 12 centrally contracted players, that includes the likes of Pietersen and Flintoff, have been granted a 15-day window by the England and Wales Cricket Board to play in the IPL while fringe players like Owais Shah and Samit Patel have been provided larger leave by the board.
“Those players on the fringes of the England team, the likes of Shah and Patel, will be granted a longer leave of absence to play in India and it is this balancing act that is occupying the ECB and PCA,” reported The Daily Telegraph.
“While the desire to protect the sanctity of Test cricket is strong on both sides, it could create a difficult dressing-room dynamic if the leading players are prevented from cashing in on the IPL at the same time as others are able to earn vast sums of money,” it said.
England players stayed off the IPL bonanza last year barring Hampshire all-rounder Dimitri Mascarenhas, who signed a deal with Rajasthan Royals.
However, the ECB could no longer ignore the huge success of the inaugural IPL and its lucrative financial benefits and had to bow down to the pressure from the Professional Cricketers’ Association.
Another issue facing the ECB is that while the IPL deals run for two years, the central contract is for only 12 months.
“It means that another laborious round of negotiations for next year’s deal could begin almost as soon as the current contract is signed,” the newspaper added.