Sydney, Dec 2 (UNI) Trouble is brewing between the Australian Cricket Board and some of the leding cricketers of the country after Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland threatened to ban players from competing in the BCCI backed Indian Premier League (IPL).
Eleven top Oz cricketers --including captain Ricky Ponting, Brett Lee and Adam Gilchrist-- have been roped in by the BCCI for its much hyped IPL. The players have signed an MoU to play in the lucrative tournament expected to kick off next April.
The other prominient players who have signed the MoU with the IPL organisers are Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds.
Sutherland, in a letter to the players, said that he would not grant them permission to play in the league unless his organisation was involved in the negotiations.
''A number of significant issues remain unresolved, particularly regarding the Australian players' participation in the proposed events and the terms of participation,'' Sutherland wrote in the letter published by the 'Sun-Herald'.
''Until the CA is satisfied with the various terms and conditions associated with the IPL and CT20, it will not consent to you or any other contracted player's participation in the aforementioned tournaments.'' The row has the potential to split the game since the time Kerry Packer launched World Series Cricket 30 years ago.
One unnamed player-manager even went on to describe it as ''declaration of war''and warned that it would be unwise for the CA to draw a line in the sand.
''Cricket Australia doesn't want to put the players in a position where they might have to decide between playing for them or in India,'' the agent told the newspaper.
''If a player is money-orientated, the IPL will win them over.
They seem prepared to offer long-term deals and can pay more money.
This could be a battle they (CA) won't win. It could divide the game.'' Last month, Ponting said money was a prime motivation for signing up with the IPL.
''It's a very lucrative thing at the moment and a very attractive thing for four to six weeks out of your year,'' he said.
Australia's tour of Pakistan next March-April, which conflicts with the IPL season, complicates the matter further.
Peter Young, CA's manager of public affairs, though tried to play down the flare-up between the players and CA, told reporters that the players were obliged to inform the CA about their plans but speculation about a major split was a mere speculation.
''I think it is over-egging the pudding a little bit to talk about this being the biggest showdown since World Series Cricket,'' he said.
''It is more an issue of saying it is a bit rude to sign up without talking to your employer. It would be a breach of contract to play without our permission.'' The Aussie top players could earn up to one million Australian dollars for just a few weeks of work with the IPL.
This is on top of their CA contracts, which are worth a minimum 140,000, dollars.
The report also said that the leading cricketers signed long-term IPL contracts, worth 150,000 dollars a year, to play 14 Twenty20 games over a 40-day period in India.