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Hard to say no to IPL - Fleming

CRICKET: CHENNAI, India, May 28 (AFP) - Former Kiwi captain Stephen Fleming has said players should not be blamed for wanting to play in the cash-rich Indian Premier League and instead urged boards to manage their workload better. Top Indian batsmen Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have recently drawn flak for choosing to play in the Twenty20 competition despite carrying niggles.

Sehwag pulled out of the IPL after playing 11 games and has been ruled out of India's one-day and Test tour of the West Indies starting next month.

Gambhir, bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for a record $2.4 million at the player auction early this year, also missed out on the Caribbean tour with a shoulder injury.

Fleming, coach of the Chennai Super Kings, said it was up to individual boards to ensure players were not forced into a situation where they have to choose between the IPL and their country.

"There is a bit of a beat-up around the club versus country thing but the IPL is a large tournament that the world's best players want to come and play in," said the former New Zealand batsman.

"It's up to the boards, if they are not happy with amount of cricket that's played, to put some stipulations on it.

"But without the stipulations or the guidelines, the players will want to play, they will want to win and they will want to compete," he said on Thursday.

Fleming said players felt motivated to compete in the IPL and money was not the only incentive. "I have seen nothing but that in this competition.

That desire to compete and to win shows how important the IPL is in the Indian landscape, and that's why we are all here.

"If it didn't have the intensity, then the players will be taking time off."

Fleming was asked if the massive amount of money and pressure from the franchises made it tough for the players to skip the IPL, currently in its fourth season.

"It's hard for players to say no, full stop," he said. "This competition has value for the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India). It's not some hit-and-giggle competition offshore somewhere.

"It would be hard to stop Gambhir or any of the Indian players from playing because I feel a real passion for them wanting to play."

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