England’s best batsman Kevin Pietersen, who has just undergone Achilles heel surgery earlier this week, is reportedly on a collision course with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over his Twenty20 commitments.
According to The Sun, ECB bosses want KP to reduce his appearances in the megabucks earning Twenty20 cricket, a demand the latter is unwilling to meet.
The tabloid quotes players’ union chief Sean Morris as warning that some big names could sacrifice their England contracts and turn freelance.
Hugh Morris, the managing director of the England team, who was heavily criticized for allowing KP and Freddie Flintoff to appear in the IPL in South Africa ahead of the Test series against the West Indies in May this year, is likely to take a tougher line in the future with players who have ECB contracts.
It is expected that the ECB crackdown on top players will begin with the Champions League event in India this October.
Hugh Morris is likely to have the support of captain Andrew Strauss, head coach Andy Flower and the England selectors, as they all would like their players to be injury free.
Freddie is likely to play for Queensland in the domestic Aussie Twenty20 event this winter as well as Chennai Super Kings in the IPL in the spring, but as far as the ECB is concerned, he is not the problem, as he would have retired from Test cricket by then.
KP’s IPL team – the Bangalore Royal Challengers – have qualified for the Champions League in October – and he says he wants to play.
Sean Morris, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers’ Association, fears trouble unless the international schedule is reduced.
“I can see issues with the ECB wanting to restrict the players’ appearances in non-international Twenty20 cricket,” The Sun quoted him, as saying.
“I believe the solution is for less international cricket and proper windows to be created for events like the IPL. This will allow the players to earn without cutting across their England commitments,” he added.