It was announced earlier this evening that England's international stars are to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for a three week window in April.
Initially the ECB were only willing to let their centrally contracted players participate for two weeks, with the IPL board insisting on four weeks. Both parties claim to be satisfied with three week compromise.
Additionally, English county players without central contracts won't have to return home until 8th May, effectively giving them a month of IPL action.
This is a good news for the English game for a number of reasons. Firstly, English players are required to give 10% of their IPL wages to their county side. Thus the lucrative IPL will go some way to alleviate the perenially cash-strapped English domestic outfits.
Secondly, with the 20/20 format becoming common currency at international levels, playing in the world's highest calibre 20/20 competition can only be good for the England side.
Thirdly, it reduces the risk of any rebellion from English players who might have been frustrated at being shut out of last year's "gold rush." Top international players would rightly expect their share of the cake, and this year they will be able to have it.
Fourthly, this is the seal on the warmly-endorsed deal between the ECB and BCCI for more regular and longer test-match and ODI series that had been previously agreed but not yet finalised.
The only slight disappointment is that the English stars will be missing from the denouement of the competition. Whilst this is unavoidable with international scheduling, it is far from ideal for the IPL teams to be severed from key players late on in proceedings.
The benefits for the IPL of having more international stars are fairly apparent, as are the financially incentives for the players, but the ECB also gain from this deal—less obviously but just as tangibly.
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