No IPL without CA's consent: Gilchrist

Australia's cricket superstars and their managers have declared they have no interest in splitting the sport and would wait at least two years.

updated: December 04, 2007 15:51 IST
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Australia's cricket superstars and their managers have declared they have no interest in splitting the sport and would wait at least two years before sharing any Twenty20 returns, the Australian media reported on Monday.

Cricket Australia (CA), players and their managers have rubbished claims the sport is about to be savagely divided over a tournament CA is helping organise, according to a report in the Australian daily The Advertiser on Monday.

The report said speculation over the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), which starts in March and is a repeat of Kerry Packer's breakaway World Series 30 years ago, has been overblown because most players have spoken with CA about playing in the tournament.

There is a clause in the IPL's memorandum of understanding, which stars such as Ricky Ponting, Brett Lee and Andrew Symonds have signed, which says they will not ink actual playing contracts without CA's permission.

The tournament is also officially sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and is being organised in conjunction with CA.

But most of Australia's star players won't be able to play next year and in 2009 anyway because of international commitments.

CA chief executive James Sutherland has written to some player managers expressing his "disappointment" at not being informed their clients had signed with the IPL.

But Sutherland stressed this in no way meant there was a split between the board and its players.

"It is certainly not World Series Cricket. There is certainly no crisis here," he said.

"There is no indication the players are looking to put the Indian Premier League ahead of the pride of wearing your Australian colours. There is no issue between Cricket Australia and the players."

Current players earn millions of dollars from playing and sponsorship contracts, and know they will not reap the same benefits by joining breakaway competitions.

The Australian team declared in the Hobart dressing room, before the second Test against Sri Lanka last month, their loyalty was to CA and the baggy green cap.

Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist confirmed he had received the letter but had discussed the matter with Sutherland a fortnight ago.

"I think it's pretty dramatic to draw comparisons between the Twenty20 revolution and World Series Cricket all those years ago," he said on Sunday.

"World Series Cricket was quite dramatic and there was a lot of bad blood around at that time but it's far from that at the moment.

"No-one will play in the IPL without consent.

"We're not trying to be rebels here. It's a new opportunity for cricketers and it's a very exciting one that I know Cricket Australia are endorsing and encouraging. We're not looking for a moment to bend the rules or our contracts with Cricket Australia. They are our employer, as simple as that."