An agreement for countries to be given a right of veto over their players appearing in the new Indian Premier League has been concluded between the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Indian cricket chiefs, the global governing body announced here Tuesday.
Although the IPL is a domestic Twenty20 competition, the new franchises which will take part in the event, which starts on April 18, have been able to lure leading players from around the world on contracts worth between 200-800,000 US dollars which reflect India's position as cricket's overwhelmingly dominant economic power.
However, this has given rise to fears that players may not be available to play for their countries with those in New Zealand and the West Indies, two major cricket nations, at particular risk of losing star names because they cannot come close to competing financially with the IPL.
The ICC, in a statement issued after a two-day board meeting at its Dubai headquarters said nation-versus-nation contests "must always be given the highest possible priority".
To that end, it had agreed a standard-form contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the owner of the IPL, which would give countries absolute discretion to lodge an objection to a player from its country playing in the IPL.
This would be respected by the IPL, with the player in question not selected by his franchise.
It added that this objection could be lodged up to two years after that player's retirement and that menbers' "bilateral commitments" (e.g. Tests and limited overs internationals) would take precedence over IPL fixtures.
Amidst speculation the impact of the IPL might lead to alterations in the international fixture schedule, as governed by the future tours programme, the ICC said "no request" had been made by either the IPL or BCCI.
"The ICC will monitor IPL's progress over the next few years and work with the BCCI to ensure that it works in harmony with international cricket," the board's statement said.
West Indies' forthcoming Test series with Australia clashes with the 44-day IPL tournament.
John Dyson, West Indies' coach and a former Australia batsman, said he hoped IPL officials would be as good as their word and allow three of his senior players - captain Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and their fellow batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan - sufficient time to prepare for Australia's visit.
"I expect our players to be back here a week before the Australian series," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"I think everyone here understands the dilemma our players will find themselves in if the pressure comes down from their IPL franchises," Dyson added "Gayle couldn't make anywhere near that kind of money here."
"Tino Best (who has joined the 'rebel' Indian Cricket League) gave an interview here recently and he said when he goes down to his grocery store, it doesn't matter that he plays for Barbados and bowls 90mph.
"The grocery, like everyone, want money, and not reputation. That is the reality of the situation for teams like ourselves, and I suppose New Zealand."
The first Test between the West Indies and Australia ia due to start in Kingston, Jamaica, on May 22.