Australia's cricketers have been issued an ultimatum by the Indian
Premier League (IPL) - sign up by the Sunday deadline or stay out for
three years. And in a move that might undermine Cricket Australia's
authority, Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman and commissioner, has
indicated Australian players can take part in the tournament without
No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from CA, contrary to an earlier
guideline that players needed permission from their respective
"They [the players] are running out of time," Modi told the Sydney
Morning Herald. "I am not the type that won't follow through with what
I say: if the contracts are not signed and returned by Sunday the
Australian players will not be allowed to take part in the IPL for
three years. We are taking a list to owners on Monday.
"Each franchise has a US$5 million cap for its team, and the contracts
are for three years, so when they bid for players at the auction they
will use up all of their cap - there will be no money to buy other
players later. We will gladly take the Australian players without
NOCs, we don't want to go down that path but if we have to, we will."
The move comes on the heels of a tussle between the Indian board-run
IPL and CA over sponsorship issues. CA is reluctant to let its
contracted players play for teams having competing sponsors to its
own, of which there is a high possibility during the Twenty20
Modi has stated continually that CA's demands over sponsor protection
can't be met, and this latest statement could increase the rift
between the BCCI and CA. A few Australian players such as Ricky
Ponting and Andrew Symonds have also voiced their disappointment over
With big money at stake, the tournament is too tempting for players to
ignore, and many believe it could lead to an exodus. ''The cricket
world is going to have to respond to the IPL given its magnitude,''
the IPL's Australian-based agent Neil Maxwell told the Daily
Telegraph. ''I know [Australian Cricketers' Association chief
executive] Paul Marsh made the logical suggestion that ultimately
there needs to be a six-week window carved out of the playing
itinerary, the Future Tours Program.
''Otherwise players will be leaving. Players will be retiring.
Unfortunately at the moment we have a conflict. If that is taken out,
there won't be conflict.''
Australia's international schedule clashes with the IPL, but the
players might be free in case the tour to Pakistan doesn't happen, a
likely possibility. Maxwell said cricket administrators must look at a
sport like football. ''Every other sport does it now,'' he said. ''It
carves out windows for other representative tournaments. It carves out
windows for players to go and play for their country.''
Maxwell, who also manages the likes of Brett Lee and Mike Hussey,
suggested a 'club v country' debate could crop up in cricket as well,
unless CA provides it players with extended contracts.
''I think looking ahead, CA will have to look at how it can hold its
players for longer than a 12-month period," he said. "There is going
to be pressure on all cricket boards to look at long-term agreements
with their boards. ''The player gets security and so does the board. I
think gone are the one-year terms.''
Sign up by Sunday or stay out for 3 years.
ROFL. Fascinating ultimatum and a lot of questions arise.
1. Who will blink - CA or IPL? Odds would be on CA.
2. Will the Aussie players put money before country or the other way
around? In other words, do they have a brain :-)
3. What will Captain Cheating decide? Interesting choice - it would
appear his playing days are now becoming somewhat numbered based upon
his current form and physical fitness. In three years, he may well be
past his sell-by date. So does the captain abandon the sinking ship!!!
Will he lead the exodus?
4. Lee presumably has to weigh up the IPL offer plus Bollywood
possibility vs straining himself on the field. Seems an easy choice.
5. And what about our dear Symonds? Seeing the way he has enamoured
himself to the Indians, one would expect him to refuse IPL. Will he
surprise or will he remain a coward :-)
Won't be long before we find out but what do the Aussie posters guess?