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IPL make approach for Alistair Brown

Surrey big-hitter Alistair Brown is the latest Englishman to have been offered a lucrative contract by the Indian Premier League, though his county are confident that he has turned the approach down.

The offer is believed to have come from Jaipur, the only one of the eight city franchises to be run by an Englishman. London-based businessman Manoj Badale is keen to recruit an English player to ignite the interest of the home market.

Badale's first target was Hampshire's Dimitri Mascarenhas, who is a close friend and county team-mate of Jaipur's star player Shane Warne. But the IPL - which runs from April 18 to June 1 - clashes with the county season, and Hampshire have refused to release him.

Mark Ramprakash has also been on Jaipur's wish-list, but this is his benefit year at Surrey, so there is little prospect of him going to India. However, Ramprakash did say last week that he "might be interested" in joining the IPL's unauthorised rival, the Indian Cricket League, in November.

Brown, 38, is one of the most destructive batsmen on the county circuit. His 268 against Glamorgan in 2002 is still the highest individual score in any professional one-day game. But Surrey have him under contract until the end of summer, and expect him to honour that deal.

If Brown did decide to sign up, it would be a significant moment for this ground-breaking 20-over tournament. A number of Englishmen have already joined the rebel ICL - the latest example being Nic Pothas, Hampshire's wicketkeeper, who could be risking his county contract in doing so. But thus far the IPL remains barren of English players, because its chairman - Lalit Modi - is trying to keep the England and Wales Cricket Board onside.

Meanwhile, umpires Trevor Jesty and Jeff Evans will be returning to India on Thursday to officiate in the second ICL tournament. Umpires are free agents between October and March but Jesty and Evans will have to cut short their stay to avoid breaching their contracts with the ECB.

The ECB may seek ways of amending umpires' contracts so that they cannot officiate in unauthorised tournaments.

Elsewhere, Harbhajan Singh could find himself in trouble with the International Cricket Council after he reportedly made monkey gestures towards the Sydney Cricket Ground during India's first tri-series final.

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