Pieterson lining up to surpass Dhoni as most valuable player of IP

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London, Jul 4 (UNI) Top England players Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff are likely to lead the English influx into the Indian Premier League (IPL) with its cash-rich franchises lining up six-figure offers for them.

Kolkata Knight Riders' owner Shah Rukh Khan is reportedly close to a deal with Andrew Flintoff on a fee around 750,000 pounds, although, Flintoff's agent denied that any deal was imminent.

On the other hand, Cricket circles are almost sure that both Flintoff and the stylish England batsman Kevin Pietersen have been offered fee by IPL team owners which they can hardly resist.

In fact several other players apart from these two are already on collision course with the ECB over new contracts.

According to the sources, the franchises have raised the stakes by lining up six figure offers to Flintoff and Pietersen.

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 claim Pietersen is close to signing the most lucrative deal yet witnessed in the Indian Premier League, after being tendered more than 4 million dollars for a three-year contract by an undisclosed IPL franchise.

Although, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is currently the most valuable player in the competition, earning above 1.5 million dollars annually, ''such is Pietersen's appeal - on the field and off it - his final figure could yet top that.'' ''It is believed that Pietersen is the subject of bids from all eight IPL franchises, while reports in India suggest Flintoff is close to a deal with the Kolkata Knight Riders, the glamorous team owned by Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan,'' The Daily Telegraph reported.

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 multi-million dollar Indian Premier League.

He supported the view of Test captain Michael Vaughan and Pietersen who argued there was no reason for England stars to miss out on the Twenty20 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 Sun.

He told The Guardian, ''When there's money like this bandied about, players will make a decision.'' Apart from the three players, Flintoff, Pietersen and Collingwood, Owais Shah, Stuart Broad and Ravi Bopara are also reportedly recipients of offer in the region of 300,00 dollars.

Reportedly, players might dictate terms when the ECB's new central contracts are signed, most probably on Monday.

However, The Telegraph said, ''until the new central contracts are signed, the ECB will not issue the non-objection certificate a player needs before joining an IPL team.'' UNI XC RAR RN1740

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