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ECB seeks to tighten leash on players

The England and Wales Cricket Board will next week impose tight restrictions on players signing lucrative contracts with the IPL.

The move is designed to assuage fears that an IPL franchise could control when a player appears for his county or country. It is learnt that the ECB will insist a player signs the release document before he agrees to an IPL deal.

The instruction was sent on Monday to the chief executives of the 18 first-class counties and suggests the ECB know that one, or maybe more, English players are set to sign an IPL deal.

Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff have been long-term targets for IPL owners.

The next county chief executives’ meeting is scheduled for July 9 and the ECB hope to have put the finishing touches to the release agreement before that date.

The agreement is aimed particularly at players who do not have a central contract as they fall outside the control of the ECB. The understanding with the IPL is that a centrally contracted player can only appear in the IPL with the agreement of his board.

Last week, the Chennai Super Kings claimed that Matthew Hayden and Mike Hussey would both miss a first-class match for Australia before the Test series in India to play for their IPL side.

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