Perth, Feb 14 (UNI) Fearing the worst, Australia captain Ricky Ponting has said that the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) could ditch the experienced players across the globe.
Ponting was concerned that the fledgling Twenty20 competition could sway players in their early 30s who were tired of travel and found the big money on offer more appealing than prolonging their international careers.
''I think there are some dangers there to tell you the truth,'' he said.
''If a guy is approaching the end of his international career anyway, and being able to play 44 days and stay in one form of the game I'm sure is very attractive.
''Particularly if they have families and they are getting a bit sick and tired of the travel you do with international cricket, I am sure that is appealing to some,'' he said.
Ponting also feared that star players would choose to play in the cashed-up IPL over international commitments if the two formats clashed.
''There are some programming issues the ICC and the boards are going to have to look at, maybe carving out a window each year where this tournament can sit in (alone),'' he said.
Australian players hope to take part in the inaugural IPL, scheduled to start in April, but await a sponsorship dispute between the Australian and Indian boards to be resolved.
The IPL has signed more than 80 internationals to take part in its inaugural competition.
However, Ponting was confident that Australian players always put the honour of representing their country over anything else, but could not be so sure the same priorities existed in other countries where players were not remunerated so well.
''In Australia you would like to think that the fabric is still there for young Australian players, and older players, to continue to play as many games as you can for your country,'' Ponting said.
''That is what it is all about as far as I am concerned. ''The danger for me is the IPL one, when unless some time is given up then we might start losing the 33-, 34-year-old players from international cricket,'' he said.
Meanwhile, most Australian stars are unlikely to play in the entire IPL campaign this year because of the scheduled tours of Pakistan - which remains in doubt because of security fears - and the West Indies.
UNI XC RKM AB SSC1339