Oct 25, 2008

Sport - Cricket;Modi reveals the catch in England's IPL participation

LONDON: Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi has revealed that the ECB will not allow its players to participate in the cash-rich event until the IPL governing council and the BCCI agree to release 20 of their players for the English version of the twenty20 series.

"The England Cricket Board (ECB) has approached the BCCI and the IPL with the objective of saying they are ready to provide non-objection certificates to the English players to play in the IPL," Modi said at the Global Sport Summit here.

"But there is a big catch to it. The ECB are set to launch the English Premier League and the quid pro quo is that if the ECB was to release their players, then the IPL must release a minimum of 20 players for the English Premier League," he added.

Modi said the suspense over the English participation will continue as long as the matter remains unresolved.

"It (the ECB proposal) has to go to a governing council and the BCCI board for approval. In the absence of that approval we will continue the way we are. I hope the English players can participate but I cannot guarantee that," he said.

Modi also hit back at suggestions that the IPL was to be blamed if Sri Lanka's Test tour to England next year is cancelled due to a clash of dates with the twenty20 event.

The IPL has offered a compensation to Sri Lanka Cricket if it cancels the tour, which was scheduled after Zimbabwe's tour of England in April-May was called off.

"The Indian Premier League took into account the ICC's fixed programme and signed players on three-year contracts. The Sri Lanka board gave their players a no-objection certificate for three years to play in the Indian Premier League," Modi said.

"Unfortunately the Zimbabwe tour to England was cancelled. The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) had an obligation to Sky television to bring another team in. It is always portrayed that the Indian Premier League is stopping the Test matches being played. There was never a scheduled Test in the first place," he pointed out.

"The Sri Lankan tour would breach the contract with the Indian Premier League," he explained.

Modi also brushed aside apprehensions being expressed about Test cricket's future in the wake twenty20's rising popularity.

"Test cricket is here to stay. It has its own hard core following and we will continue to see that go forward," said Modi.

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