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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 remains oblivious to the temptations and riches offered by the newest Twenty20 tournament on the international calendar.

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, which will be staged in India during April.

While England played their fourth one-day international against New Zealand overnight at McLean Park, the world awaited 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 then 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.

"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."

Unlike the other Test-playing nations, England is in the Northern Hemisphere so they have less breaks than most international games simply because they play in their summer and then go abroad to play in another summer.

The ICC, the world's governing body, have talked about establishing a window every year to allow all the top players to take advantage of the huge riches on offer by the Indian television companies.

Cook, though, remains doubtful that one could be found which would accommodate everyone in world cricket, stressing: "We know there isn't going to be a window for us due to the amount of cricket England play.

"If they made a window for the IPL then people a lot higher up than me would make that decision although I'm not sure they'd want a little blocker from Essex to go and play Twenty20 cricket.

"We get looked after well and when I was 10 years old I didn't dream about playing in an Indian Twenty20 league - I dreamed about playing for England and I'm very happy with what I'm doing at the moment."

England coach Peter Moores conceded that under the present schedule it would be difficult for his players to fit in playing in the IPL around their international schedule.

"At the moment our players are very focused on playing for England and they realise our schedule is very full," he said. "We're here (in New Zealand) until March 28th and then start again on May 15th with a full summer programme to come before the ICC trophy.

"You're hoping every player is thinking the same way about playing for England and that it was a dream of theirs when they were kids - they've worked very hard to get the opportunity and they are very proud to pull on their country's sweater and represent the nation.

"I think the rewards that they are getting for doing that now are such that it is financially a good incentive as well. The balance of the two makes it a very good incentive for people to want to work hard and stay within that England team."

Captain 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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