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ECB says KP and teammates will always remain part time IPL players

London: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has made it clear to star batsman Kevin Pietersen and his teammates that they would never play a full season of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) because international games would always stay the priority.

The money-spinning Twenty20 tournament clashes with the first Test series of the English season in May, with a lowly ranked New Zealand up this year.

Players’ union The Professional Cricket Association (PCA) believe senior stars like Pietersen should be allowed to skip the early Tests against so-called secondary opposition to play in the IPL, it further reported.

But while the two sides negotiated fresh England central contracts for 2014, ECB managing director Hugh Morris insists the principle of internationals taking priority is non-negotiable.

Morris said they have got a pretty clear policy as far as the IPL is concerned and it’s critical that when England is playing internationals, their best players are available, adding the principle is central to all of their programmes.

Morris added players who are in the frame to be selected for the first Test match of the summer have to be back in time to play a four-day game for their county ahead of that series.

Pietersen’s desire to play with IPL franchisee Delhi Daredevils, his 1.3 million pound IPL employers, for longer than the three weeks currently allowed underpinned his text gate fallout with the ECB last summer, the paper said.

The suggestion was knocked back, with KP’s erratic behaviour seeing him forced to complete a four-month probation period before signing a fresh England central contract two weeks ago, it concluded.