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ECB in the line of fire

cricket Updated: Nov 18, 2008 01:51 IST

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The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) faces a potential players’ revolt after failing to strike a deal for them in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

According to media reports here, the deadlock might result in Kevin Pietersen and his men refusing to sign their central contracts.

ECB chairman David Collier and CEO Giles Clarke returned last night after a round of failed talks with IPL chairman Lalit Modi, much to the frustration of the players, who sare keen to take part in the cash-rich league.

"If the players are denied the chance to play in the IPL, then Clarke is going to feel their wrath, no question," an agent, who represents some top players in the side, was quoted as saying in The Daily Mail.

"Clarke seems to be playing hardball with Modi when he has no bullets to fire. He has been backed into a terrible corner," he added.

The IPL has made it clear that England's players would be welcome only if they commit to a substantial number of games and not the 15 days that the ECB is offering.

"There is no sense in England players playing in the IPL for just two weeks," Modi has insisted all along.

Collier and Clarke were in Mumbai on Sunday working to end the deadlock but nothing worthwhile came out of the talks and the participation of the English players in next April's Indian Premier League looks highly unlikely.

The newspaper said IPL and ECB officials could talk again in the coming couple of weeks but with the wait getting longer by the day for players, it is likely that may try some arm-twisting tactics of their by refusing to sign central contracts.