Modi clears Sachin, Dhoni, Bhajji for Aussie T20 on IPL lines

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Jaipur, Sept 26 : BCCI vice-president and IPL chairman Lalit Modi has said that he had cleared Indian star cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni to play for Australian state teams if they wanted to.

Modi's statement assumes significance in the wake of Cricket Australia (CA)'s plans to beef up its domestic Twenty20 competition by holding a glittering tournament featuring the world's best players in 2009-10.

Cricket could soon have domestic Twenty20 competitions in the mould of the major soccer leagues around the world, Modi said in an interview with the Courier Mail.

"I think if you look at the soccer leagues around the world, you have the English Premier League, you have the Bundesliga in Germany, the Italian, the Spanish leagues. You have rugby going on in various countries. I think each country will develop talent. It may not be on the same scale as the IPL. It may not be eight, 10 or 12 teams, but it may be six teams in Australia," the paper quoted him as saying in Jaipur.

Modi, seen as one of the power centers of Indian cricket, said that he was keeping a close watch on CA's plans and would assist in any way possible to ensure its IPL clone was a success.

"We are very excited they are doing that. We understand they are looking at a franchise model, developing other models, too. We are keenly watching that and are most supportive of that. The Australian Cricket Board has been most supportive of the Indian Cricket Board. They have asked us already if we would release our players for that and we said yes. They have been gracious enough to release their players for us," he said.

Earlier this week, the BCCI had announced a record net income of 260 million dollars, but Modi vowed CA would not share in the IPL's financial spoils. "It's a domestic tournament. When county cricket (in England) was going well for hundreds of years, we never got the spoils. You have got to understand Indian cricket never made money until three or four years ago. It was always England first, Australia second, South Africa third and then India would get a little bit of money. Our market has developed, our game has developed," he said.

ANI

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