London:English players are welcome to join the Indian Premier League, reiterated IPL commissioner Lalit Modi but he insisted that Kevin Pietersen and co will have to commit to at least 15 games in the cash-rich league, failing which no franchise would be interested in having them.
"Are the franchise owners happy for Kevin Pietersen to play a handful of matches and then go away? I don't think anybody would be happy with that. He wouldn't add any value and would be more of a disruption. It takes time to gel with team-mates and to become part of team strategy and implement that strategy," Modi said.
"They (Pietersen and Flintoff) need to be there for 15 or 16 matches -- substantial numbers of games. If you ask, 'Is that practical?', I don't think it is currently," he said in the December issue of 'The Wisden Cricketer' magazine which hits the stands on Friday.
Modi said this can only be done if the scheduling clash between the IPL and English county season is sorted out. He said ECB can alter the start of the English season and IPL can be brought forward a bit.
"The good thing is that we are moving closer to trying to resolve the issue. If we can't agree for the next year, I hope we can agree something for the next Future Tours Programme, so we can move our tournament further forward and the ECB can move their season so they sit further apart," he said.
Modi was non-committal on the vexed issue of releasing star India players for the English Premier League in 2010.
"The ECB want us to give clearance to 20 centrally contracted Indian players to play in the English Premier League. But we would be creating competition for ourselves. If we get back something of value then we will consider it. But it comes back to the same question: what is the availability of English players for the IPL?" he said.