Sydney: Aussie cricketers have been told to join the Indian Premier League (IPL) by Sunday (Feb 17), even if it means defying their own board, or face a three-year ban from the tournament.
The chairman of the IPL, Lalit Modi said all the players will have to return their signed contracts by Sunday so that the they could be auctioned to the eight franchises next Wednesday.
''They are running out of time,'' Modi told the Herald.
''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.
''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 5 million dollars cap for their 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. he said.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India - which created the IPL - assured all cricket boards, including Australia's, that it would not accept players who did not have board permission to participate in the Twenty20 tournament, to alleviate initial fears that some stars could quit international cricket to chase the big money on offer in the IPL.
The stumbling block for Aussie cricketers is their governing body CA is concerned that the players will have to advertise rivals of their own sponsors, and Modi reiterated last night that global protection for CA's sponsors would not be given ''under any circumstances''.
IPL is a temptation that is hard to resist and a three-year ban would mean that veterans like Matthew Hayden, who are likely to retire by then, will be denied a chance to earn huge money at the end of their careers.