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IPL: Aussie cricketers may miss the bus

Published: Thursday, February 7, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
 
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Mumbai: The Indian Premier League (IPL) has postponed the auction of enrolled players because of confusion over their participation in the inaugural tournament in April.

IPL authorities will meet with the franchisees on Feb 9 to discuss the players available for the event and will then announce the auction date.

The complications have emerged as Cricket Australia is not keen to relieve Aussie players for the board wants promotion of its sponsors during the IPL, a notion their Indian counterpart  - which formulated the IPL - has rejected.

IPL official Lalit Modi criticising the stance of CA said Aussie board sabotaging the futures of Ponting's men.

"If they want to keep playing these games, they can keep their players and we will have the IPL without them," Modi said last night. "I am being very clear about this. Cricket Australia wants global protection of its sponsors, we are not interested in that. That does not happen anywhere in cricket. The fact is, if Cricket Australia continues these demands they will cause their players to suffer."

CA has said it is awaiting more detailed player contracts, but Modi said chief executive James Sutherland and the players had been sent the documents two months ago. Many of the Australian players would be offered million-dollar deals to take part in the tournament.

Given that sponsors pay millions of dollars to CA each year, they feel entitled to receive coverage whenever an Australian player takes part in any international series.

However, with the IPL - which has a limit of four, non-Indian, international players for each of the eight teams - Australian players will be representing clubs and they're expected to wear sanctioned gear.

Modi said the players' personal sponsorships would not be affected in any way. "We have no issue at all with personal sponsors of players, and there should be no confusion. The players can play and keep their sponsors, and get more personal sponsors throughout the tournament."

Modi gave the example of Australians playing English county cricket to highlight why CA's request was unreasonable.

"If Foster's sponsors Cricket Australia, and a player goes to play for Hampshire, they can't get coverage in England. No organisation gives this non-competitive guarantee. It is up to (CA), they have been told our position and we will not move on this."

CA said there had been a 'misunderstanding'. "We are very keen to talk to the BCCI to resolve a number of outstanding issues," spokesman Peter Young said. "We are extremely confident that all of these issues are capable of being resolved. As we have said all along, we are very, very keen to see the IPL succeed."

Meanwhile BCCI have decided to take time to sort out issues before players are signed up by the franchises in the IPL, rather than holding the auction this week.

“It is only fair that the teams are made aware of the bilateral tours and other cricketing engagements during the IPL period before they decide on who they want for their respective teams, which is why we have postponed the auction," BCCI chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty said.

“Once we brief them in the meeting on Feb 9, they can go back and decide their strategies in time for the auction.

“After all, we don"t want to be in a position where the franchisees end up bidding for players who are unavailable."

The player auction may be rescheduled for mid-February.

Agencies

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