Ashley Giles, the managing director of England men’s team, had hinted that Three Lions’ players might not be available for the remainder of this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) if it gets rescheduled for some time later this year. But former skipper Kevin Pietersen believes if the England players stand together they will play in the tournament.

The IPL Governing Council (GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in an emergency meeting had unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season last week. BCCI is now looking to tap the September window before the T20 World Cup to finish the league.

“It’s going to be very interesting to watch how the ECB handle this issue around not allowing its best players to play IPL if it’s rescheduled. When I went up against ENG, I was alone. This time, it’s all their best-branded players! If they stand together, they’ll play IPL,” Pietersen tweeted.

When Pietersen was signed up by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2009, questions were raised in the English cricketing circles on him playing in the league. But now as years have passed, England cricketers have seen their stock rise and more players from the country are being given IPL contracts.

Earlier this year, ECB had received flak for rotating its players in the Test series against India and many former cricketers had given their opinion, saying the board is allowing its players to play in the IPL while ignoring international cricket.

Any rescheduling of the IPL 2021 is likely to clash with England’s Future Tours Programme (FTP).

“We’ve got a full FTP schedule. So if those tours to Pakistan and Bangladesh [in September and October] are going ahead, I’d expect the players to be there,” ESPNcricinfo had quoted Giles as saying. “The New Zealand scenario was very different. Those Test matches were formalised at the end of January, by which time all those contracts and NOCs [no objection certificates] were signed for full involvement in the IPL,” he further said.

Giles said England’s schedule for the summer is “incredibly busy” and the management wants to look after their players. “None of us knows what a rearranged IPL looks like at the moment; where it’s going to be or when. But from when we start this summer against New Zealand, our programme is incredibly busy,” said Giles.

“We’ve got a lot of important, high-profile cricket including the T20 World Cup and the Ashes. And we’re going to have to look after our players,” he added. Moreover, India and England are slated to lock horns in the five-match Test series in the UK this year. The series would commence in August.