Cook plays down IPL fears

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Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook relaxes at McLean Park ahead of the fourth ODI

Alastair Cook remains confident England’s leading cricketers will not join the growing list of the world’s elite players signing up for the lucrative Indian Premier League.

Still at the start of his international career - the 23-year-old Essex left-hander has played only 19 one-day internationals and 24 Tests - Cook is ignoring the temptations and riches offered by the newest Twenty20 tournament on the international calendar.

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Sanctioned by the International Cricket Council, the speculation surrounding the IPL has dominated cricket in recent months as overseas players were signed up for the tournament in India, which begins in April.

While England play their fourth one-day international against New Zealand at McLean Park, the world awaits the draft draw in Mumbai to decide which of the 85 signed-up overseas players would play for which of the eight franchises.

But Cook believes England’s players will not follow in the footsteps of legends like Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting because they are already well paid by their central contracts.

“We have so much cricket for England that we can’t go off and play there too,” he stressed. “We’re very well looked after and I can’t see why you’d trade in the three lions for anything.

“Possibly an England player might have to make a decision, but it all depends on your situation at the time. Of course, if the money is good then Twenty20 cricket in India is a great opportunity to do something new.

Daniel Vettori

New Zealand's Daniel Vettori believes English players could play in the IPL © Getty Images

“But when you’re playing for England and you walk out on the field with the three lions on your shirt then there is nothing bigger than that, no matter what anyone says.

“If you’re at the end of your career and you’re just playing county cricket with no chance of playing for England then it makes sense to do it, but I can’t see anyone giving up the chance of playing for England to do that.”

Daniel Vettori, one of five New Zealand players signed up - alongside former skipper Stephen Fleming, wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum and all-rounders Jacob Oram and Scott Styris - is also of the belief that England players are less likely to be drawn towards the IPL.

Asked whether any England players had spoken to him about it, Vettori replied: “I think they’ve got some interest.

“They differ a lot from us because their remuneration (for England) is a lot more than ours so it probably doesn’t affect them as much as it does our guys, who actively see that money and it can become a drawcard.

“You have to realise this is going on and it’s going to be an important part of cricket. Jacob, myself, Brendon and Scott’s priority at the moment is playing for New Zealand and we’re going to worry about the other stuff when it comes along.

“In saying that, there’s money there and there’s big money being offered around so guys are going to start to look at that. What we’re hoping for is that guys still realise that playing Test and one-day cricket for New Zealand is the most important thing.”

Vettori added: “We’ve got to acknowledge the situation and the fact this is going on and there are always going to be people who unfortunately miss out.

“But if you put performances together consistently out on the park then people stand up and take notice. We’re hoping it could be an incentive-based thing for guys within the side.”

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