Shah Rukh Khan is reportedly close to a deal with Andrew Flintoff for his Kolkata IPL team for a fee of around £750,000. Flintoff's agent though denied a deal was imminent.
Shah Rukh had said at the dinner hosted in London a few weeks ago that he was on the lookout for some younger players from India and England. Although no names were mentioned, most feel Flintoff was on his mind. A source told Hindustan Times that Flintoff would not like to annoy the ECB at a time when his Test selection is not certain and his agent could wait for other players to sign up.
But some sources are almost sure that both Flintoff and the stylish Kevin Pietersen have been offered fees by IPL team owners that they will find hard to resist. In fact, several players apart from the two are already on collision course with the ECB over new contracts.
Pietersen has also been offered a very "high" fee. According to an earlier report, "one of India's wealthiest families" wanted Pietersen to sign "at any price". Sources said Pietersen was sure of playing in India next year and was close to signing the most lucrative deal yet in the IPL after being tendered more than $4 million for a three-year contract by an undisclosed IPL franchise.
Though M.S. Dhoni is currently the most valuable player in the competition — earning above $1.5 million annually — but “such is Pietersen's appeal, his final figure could yet top that”.
England's limited-overs captain Paul Collingwood has been pressing the ECB to relax its stance and let the country's top players turn out in the IPL. He supported the view of Pietersen and Test captain Michael Vaughan, who argued there was no reason for the England stars to miss out on the T20 extravaganza.
"I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about the IPL. At the moment we can't play, but players will be tempted. If you had the chance to earn four times your normal money in the next six weeks, would you take it? It's human nature," Collingwood was quoted as saying by The Sun.
"Hopefully, there won't be a situation where players have to make a choice between the IPL and playing for England."
Apart from the three players, Flintoff, Pietersen and Collingwood, Owais Shah, Stuart Broad and Ravi Bopara are also reported to have offers in the region of $300,00.