Sydney: Australian paceman Brett Lee claims the Twenty20 Indian Premier League phenomenon will revolutionise cricket the same way World Series Cricket did in the 1970s, reports said Thursday.
The world's leading cricketers scooped huge paydays at the IPL auction in Mumbai on Wednesday with 77 players featuring in an unprecedented sell-off for the 44-day Twenty20 tournament, starting on April 18.
As the billionaire owners of the new Twenty20 franchises made some players into instant millionaires, Lee said it would be another defining moment for the international game.
"If we look back in 10 years time this is going to be a massive landmark in cricket I think," Lee told Sydney's The Daily Telegraph Thursday.
"It's a bit like when the World Series started."
World Series Cricket was set up in opposition to the cricket establishment between 1977 and 1979 and organised by media mogul Kerry Packer for his Australian television network.
Lee, who was signed to play for Mohali for 900,000 US dollars, said the IPL should be embraced and was confident it would not undermine or threaten tradition formats.
"It's completely different from Test cricket, it's completely different from one-day cricket," Lee said.
Senior opening batsmen Matthew Hayden said he joined the IPL's ranks to be part of history and saw Twenty20 cricket as the way of the future.
"I get the feeling that the IPL and other Twenty20 competitions will lead to significant changes in cricket, not dissimilar to the way Super 14s has moved rugby forward," Hayden told The Australian.
"If I was a consumer of the game I'd want to go and see it because it's bloody exciting.
Hayden, 36, also said Twenty20 had given him a new lease of life.
"The shorter versions of the game have sparked my interest in the way I train and the passion for my game as well," he said.
But the money-spinning IPL has not been wholly embraced with Melbourne's The Age newspaper, describing it as "grubby business."
"Sport is at its best when spectators feel that players share their cause. Indian Premier League cricketers will have time only to learn to love their pay clerks and their first-class seats on the first flight out," the newspaper said.