Melbourne:Despite being the best-paid cricketers in the world, 67 per cent of Australian players are ready to reject national contract and turn freelancer to play in cash-awash events like the Indian Premier League, according to a survey here.
"About two-thirds of players (67 per cent) said they could envisage an Australian player rejecting a CA contract to ply their trade in leagues such as the IPL in the short to medium term," the 'Sydney Morning Herald' said, quoting the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) survey.
"Asked if they would consider knocking back a CA contract to turn freelance, 22 per cent of national players and 18 per cent of state players answered yes," it added.
It was a rude shock for Cricket Australia to learn that so many players are ready to follow in the footsteps of Andrew Flintoff.
Flintoff retired from Test cricket this year and then rejected a contract from the English and Wales Cricket Board worth $54,658 to maximise his earning power with the Chennai Super Kings in IPL.
Australian temperamental all-rounder Andrew Symonds is also currently having a freelance career after his contract was terminated by CA after a series of misconduct.
"I think Andrew Flintoff's decision is a sign of the times and is reflective of what a number of players around the world are currently thinking," ACA chief executive Paul Marsh said.
"The reality is that the national boards no longer have a monopoly over the players' services. There are new, exciting and lucrative options available to players, and not surprisingly many are giving serious consideration to their futures.
"Our players are well paid, but a competition such as the IPL in many cases provides a package of more money for less work and therefore less time away from home. Tell me that's not a proposition any person would consider," he added.
CA chief executive James Sutherland agreed that the scenario has changed but was confident that it would not sway the national cricketers.
"There is no doubt the labour market has changed in that there are broader options now than there were before," Sutherland said.
"I am really pleased at the way in which our players continue to value the honour of representing their country and have a real focus on achieving things as an Australian cricket team.
"It's also about making sure we offer a rewarding career for Australian cricketers, whether they are representing their state and their country, and we're very proud of the fact that we're running a business that can afford to ensure Australian cricketers are the best paid cricketers in the world," he said.