London: England and Wales Cricket Board has asked the BCCI if the Indian Premier League can be advanced by a month so that its players can take part in the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament, a media report said.
According to a report in 'The Times' newspaper, David Collier, the ECB chief executive, travelled to India last week to meet officials of the BCCI to urge them to reschedule future IPL seasons to dovetail more with the England first-class season.
This, the report, said was in response to pressure from England players who wanted to play in the IPL. Some of England's players have made their impatience clear about their exclusion from high-profile tournaments like the IPL.
Matt Prior, who failed to attract a bid in the IPL auction this year despite his growing stature, has said players are frustrated at the lack of opportunities to feature in the lucrative competition as franchises remain concerned over availability.
According to the report, Collier wanted, in future years, the IPL to be completed before the end of April to allow England players to participate without compromising their involvement in England's international schedule which starts in mid-May. This year's IPL ends on May 26.
"We have had very fruitful talks with India. In an ideal world, we would like the IPL to be concluded by April 30, which is the cooler season for India. We have put that to them, they are doing their best, but they realise there are some limitations," Collier was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
"It would make things a lot easier for us. We still have to get the workload balance right, but it would make it a lot easier for our players to be available for that period and certainly the BCCI are fully aware of that. There is a willingness on the part of both boards to see if we can make any progress."
The talks apparently came in the context of the ECB re-negotiating the value of central contracts with England players. The players' union, the Professional Cricketers' Association, has urged the ECB to address the overlap between the IPL and the English season. The present IPL ends on May 26, 10 days after the start of the Test series between England and New Zealand at Lord's.
The PCA has been requesting substantial pay increases to compensate its members for their non-appearance, or at best fleeting appearance, in the IPL, and have argued that Australian players earn far more from their Board and have more opportunity to appear in T20 leagues such as the IPL and Big Bash.
As a consequence, the ECB, eager not to raise the value of the contracts above sustainable levels, are seeking other ways to allow its players to supplement their incomes.
However, there appears to be little scope for the IPL finishing before the end of April for the next three years.
The World Twenty20 in Bangladesh is scheduled to run from March 16 to April 6 in 2014, with the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand likely to run from February until the end of March 2015 and the World Twenty20 of 2016 scheduled to run in India until mid-April.
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