States ready to welcome foreign players but where's the money?

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Sydney, Nov 4 (UNI) Money remains a big hurdle to entice big names such as Sachin Tendulkar and Kevin Pieterson for Cricket Australia (CA) as it prepares its own version of the Indian Premier League in 2009-10.

Overseas players will be allowed to sign with state sides in the Big Bash Twenty20 domestic tournament for next summer and for the first time since Imran Khan in 1980s, as interantional star could be seen in the New South Wales (NSW) team.

It is the first phase of CA's plan to emulate the cash rich IPL, which is expected to begin in two years and feature a host of recognised global stars along side local players.

However, the Cricket NSW chief executive David Gilbert, believes that lack of money will make it extremely difficult to lure big names.

''I think if you're going to the route of an overseas player you have to make sure it's a drawcard overseas player - someone who is going to tick the boxes not just as a player but someone who is going to appeal to the public and has a high profile,'' Sydney Morning Herald reported today.

''Someone like a Pietersen or (Andrew) Flintoff or a Tendulkar. My concern is that 'Are we realistically going to have the finds available to us to attract those sorts of players? Because they're not going to come cheap.

''You presume Pietersen doesn't get out of bed unless it's a sizeable amount of money. That's what we've got to get our heads across,'' Gilbert added.

He further argued that fielding relatively unknown overseas players will not work.

''It's one thing wanting your team to win with an overseas player, but it's also about the public wanting to watch that player.

''We could trawl English county cricket and find a very very good Twenty20 player, but it's someone that people here may never have heard of, and I don't think that's what we're trying to do here. We need to have someone who obviously plays good cricket but also appeals to the public.

''We can't get away from the fact that it's a domestic competition, so I can't imagine the funds available will be sizeable to the level I'm talking about, but who knows,'' he stated.

Where the funds will come from will be decided after a discussion between CA, the states and the Australian Cricketers' Association but with the Stanford Twenty20 match rewarding 20 million dollars and the six-week IPL offering six-figure contracts, the enticement of playing in the strongest domestic competition in the world is no longer enough to persuade even reserve players.

UNI XC RAR SW DS1143

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