Sydney:After their profitable outing in the multi-million dollar Indian Premier League (IPL), Australian cricketers are now eyeing the proposed English Premier League (EPL) slated for 2010.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke Thursday confirmed details of the new league, which will begin in June 2010 and has been established in response to the IPL.
The EPL has re-ignited the club-versus-country debate as county teams will be able to sign as many as four overseas players each.
According to Daily Telegraph, this lure will become even greater when Cricket Australia (CA) revamps its Twenty20 competition from 2009-10 as the bite-sized format takes a frenzied grip on the game.
Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Brett Lee will be at the top of the EPL list.
Australia's top players will already be in England for five one-day internationals before the EPL begins. The EPL will feature 18 first-class counties and two overseas teams.
They will be split into two divisions, with promotion and relegation of two or three teams.
It's understood that Australia's top Twenty20 side, Victoria, and a South African side will be invited to take part.
This would free up India's players to join English teams, boosting sponsorship and television revenue, as matches would be shown in the sub-continent. Some county teams could later appear in Australia's revamped tournament as part of a reciprocal deal.
While prize money details have yet to be released, the riches on offer in the EPL will be huge.
The top two local EPL teams will qualify for the Champions League stage, which features teams from Australia, South Africa and India in a playoff for $5 million.
Officials are still working on plans to stage the inaugural Champions League in India in October this year.