London: Five England cricketers are reportedly in line to earn million-dollar deals after new Indian Premier League chief Rajeev Shukla confirmed they were priorities on his competition’s shopping list.
According to a leading daily, batsmen Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan, and bowlers Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Stuart Broad are primary targets following an unprecedented year of success for England.
There complete dominance over India this year has sky rocketed their profiles on the subcontinent.
They are now being seen as the hottest properties by the nine IPL franchise owners when the auction for the 2012 tournament takes place in December.
Shukla told a leading daily: “I’ll try my level best to get them. There is no doubt the England team are doing very well. They have improved a lot, and possess a number of outstanding players. Of course, we would like that talent to be in the IPL.”
The Twenty20 league’s fifth season runs from April 4 to May 27, 2012, and the final stages once again clash with the start of England’s home international summer.
Shukla added: “The main thing for franchises is the availability of these players. If they are available, up to what time are they available? This is the issue that will need to be sorted out. The fixture list is always a problem when it comes to signing the best players from England – we will have to see how we can deal with that.”
Swann heads the ICC bowling rankings in one-day internationals, and Anderson is the world’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket over the past 18 months. Neither has featured in the IPL to date, but both have expressed a desire to do so.
The bosses at Lord’s, however, might view their participation in 2012 as a compromise if they can negotiate an agreement for them not to play in 2013 when Andy Flower will want his men fresh for back-to-back Ashes series.
Flower has admitted he didn’t know if an English exodus to the tournament was ‘stoppable’ given the riches on offer for a month’s work on a pro rata basis, outstripping what they pick up annually for a central contract.