Players are not trying to be rebel, will obey Board: Gilchrist

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Sydney, Dec 2 (UNI) Dashing southpaw Adam Gilchrist tried to allay all fears about a possible rift between Cricket Australia (CA) and the players, saying that Aussie cricketers are not to be ''rebels'' and will follow the diktat of the board.

''We're not trying to be rebels here. It's a new opportunity for cricketers and it's a very exciting one that I know Cricket Australia are endorsing and encouraging,'' Gilchrist said.

''We're not looking for a moment to bend the rules or our contracts with Cricket Australia. They are our employer, as simple as that.

''We'll abide by their rules at all times and we're not trying to bend those rules whatsoever,'' he was quoted as saying by the 'Australian Associated Press'.

Gilchrist said he did not view the letter as being the start of a ''standoff'' between the players and CA, and dismissed fears Australian cricket was on the verge of the game's biggest split since Australian millionaire businessman Kerry Packer launched World Series Cricket 30 years ago.

''I don't see (the letter) as a stand off or a threat. It's simply them (CA) stating exactly what their position is, and making sure that everyone is fully aware of it,'' Gilchrist said.

''If the opportunity comes up to play IPL, which a lot of us have signed an MOU to allow us to do, (we will play) but that will always be secondary to international cricket and playing for our country,'' he added.

Australia's best are unlikely to play in the IPL the next two years because of scheduled tours of Pakistan (2008) and South Africa (2009).

Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive Paul Marsh downplayed speculation India's financial lure would test players' loyalty.

''I had a discussion with the players before the Hobart Test (last month) and their commitment is to play for Australia and as the calendar stands none of them will be able to play in the IPL for the next two years,'' Marsh said.

''The players have signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the BCCI (Indian board) with the understanding there is a longer-term contract. This is currently being worked on to come later.'' CA is unsure how many players have signed, but maintains they must get a clearance to play overseas.

Agent Neil Maxwell, who represents Brett Lee and Mike Hussey, said it was ''absolute rubbish'' to believe the players would revolt.

He said players and their agents were beholden to inform CA of their intentions.

''If I'm working for a company and I go and sign on the board of another company without telling my company, then my place of employment would be a bit peeved,'' he said.

Australia's players are understood to want three-year deals with the IPL which could involve more promotional work than playing because of their unavailability due to international commitments.

The IPL is part of an International Cricket Council-endorsed plan of having the best domestic sides in India, Australia, England and South Africa play off in a lucrative Twenty20 championship, based on European soccer's Champions League model.

It was developed in response to the breakaway Indian Cricket League, which has just begun.

UNI

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