Aussie stars for Indian Premier League

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Sydney, Oct 28 (UNI) The newly-acquired glitter of Indian rupee seems to have attracted a number of Oz players as they are queuing up to sign multi-million dollar deal with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) backed Indian Premier league (IPL).

Several frontline Australian players -- Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds, Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken, Michael Hussey, Adam Gilchrist, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden and Mitchell Johnson -- have signed up a two-million dollar deal with the League.

Retired greats Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer have already joined IPL, while Simon Katich and Jason Gillespie are also believed to have joined the IPL bandwagon.

Chief cricket executives from the four countries involved in the international Twenty20 tournament -- India, Australia, South Africa and England -- will be thrashing out a solution to the potential conflict of one of their contracted stars playing against them.

Chief executive of Cricket New South Wales (CNSW), David Gilbert is worried that his ward Brett Lee may end up playing against his own state team.

In Dubai, player agent Neil Maxwell will present the Australian stars' signed contracts to BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi, who is representing the IPL board.

Apart from the timing of clash for next year's IPL, organisers must also decide on another major point of contention: who the Australians will represent in the event that both their Indian franchise and their home state qualify for the Champions Twenty20 League, the lucrative international leg of the four domestic Twenty20 tournaments.

The top two teams from each country's domestic tournament will contest the Champions Twenty20 League.

Gilbert said yesterday possible clashes were a concern for each of the states.

''We're still very much at the thrashing-out stage, but I've been led to believe that if that happens, someone like Brett Lee's first commitment would be to his home state,'' Gilbert told the 'Sun-Herald'.

''These sort of things must be spelt out at the start, so there can't be any grey area. It would be good to get this worked out as soon as possible,'' he said.

One thing is certain, the signed players stand to make its big moolah from the concept.

Owners of the IPL franchises will soon start bidding for these marquee players and it's possible that some of them could pocket 1 million dollar from their owners.

The revolutionary new concept offers players the chance to increase their incomes without surrendering their right to play Test and 50-over cricket.

It also reaffirms the perception that India is the overwhelming cash cow in world cricket, something even Australian captain Ricky Ponting acknowledges, who recently led the Australian one-day team through a fiery seven-match series in India.

''We have to understand India is still the powerbroker in cricket,'' Ponting said.

''Sixty per cent of all cricket-related revenue comes out of India. I think everyone knows that and understands.

''It's about growing the game; making the game as good as possible around the world.

''Australia goes there a lot. We want to keep going there. We want to make the game grow around the world. As long as they have same beliefs, everything will be fine,'' he added.

Amid claims of racist behaviour by small sections of the Indian crowds, there was concern that India had become a law unto itself by first ignoring the claims, then branding Symonds a liar and, as it was later revealed, not following an ICC edict to appoint an officer to deal with issues of racism.

When asked if these facts were a sign that India was aiming to run its own game separate from the governing body, Ponting said, ''Let's hope not.'' UNI XC TB BDP KP1925

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