England stars released to play in IPL

England's cricket board has allowed its Test players a 21-day period to play in the lucrative Indian Premier League.

updated: January 23, 2009 10:55 IST
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England and Wales Cricket Board on Thursday agreed to release Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff for three weeks to play in the Indian Premier League, prompting the cricketers to sign the central contracts, due since last September.

"They have been signed by the players and we are waiting on the IPL to come back with confirmation," England all-rounder Paul Collingwood was quoted as saying in the 'BBC'.

However, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi had wanted at least four-week commitment from the English cricketers to let them play in the second edition of the cash-rich event.

If, IPL agrees, up to six England players could be involved in the February 6 IPL auction with Pietersen and Flintoff expected to fetch lucrative contracts.

England players' participation in the IPL had run into trouble after league chairman Lalit Modi had demanded a one-month window, while the ECB had initially granted only two weeks.

However, discussion between ECB and professional cricketers' association saw the window extended to three weeks.

Those selected in England's squad for the first Test against the West Indies at Lord's starting May 6 will now be allowed to play in the IPL for up to 21 days.

Any England players signed for the IPL but deemed unlikely to make the Test squad would be available for up to 28 days.

Central contracts have been awarded to James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Stephen Harmison, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Ryan Sidebottom, Andrew Strauss and Michael Vaughan.

Matt Prior, Tim Ambrose, Ravi Bopara, Samit Patel, Owais Shah, Graeme Swann and Luke Wright have "incremental deals".