IPL riches turning Test players into poor cousins

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Sydney, Nov.14 (ANI): The overused argument that only by excelling for a national side can a player become valuable in an auction of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), is fast losing credibility, at least in the Australian context.

Australia's current Test players are being identified as the poor cousins of fellow players like out of favour all-rounder Andrew Symonds, who continue to rake in the moolah because of their association with the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL).

Test cricketers here are missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars because their first duty is to national colours.

Australian players are paid 13,250 dollars a Test match, which nowhere to the Indian Premier League individual wage of 110,000 dollars a game.

Ricky Ponting and company will miss the opening three weeks of the IPL to play Test matches in New Zealand. So while the nation's best toil at Hamilton's Seddon Park, a bunch of retired and overlooked cricketers will be earning up to eight times as much from a single IPL game in cricket-obsessed India, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The question is, how long can this continue?

The IPL's third season will be held from March 12 to April 25, while Australia's trip across the Tasman concludes on March 31.

The Australians - whose base contracts start at 190,000 dollars a season - are the biggest losers from the IPL draw, because their unavailability for the contest's first half will markedly drive down their price in the auction held before next season.

The auction will set prices for the next three years, and franchises will bid large amounts for those who are available from the start.

In the first two seasons, teams that made poor starts have been unable to claw their way back into the finals.

Symonds and England's Andrew Flintoff, who rejected a national contract because the IPL paid better, will be as, if not more, valuable than their initial three-year contracts, which are worth an annual US 1.47 million dollars and US1.55 million dollars respectively.

Australia's domestic cricketers will also benefit by their availability, effectively profiting for not being good enough to make the Australian Test team.

Kieron Pollard averages 11.30 from 15 one-day matches for the West Indies, but his emphatic batting performances for Trinidad and Tobago in the domestic Champions League Twenty20 tournament will make him one of the most sought-after players when bidding starts.

Not considered good enough for the Windies Test squad that arrived in Australia yesterday, the 22-year-old will command more than US750, 000 dollars in the IPL based on his previous results.

In the past, Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson, Brad Haddin and Phillip Hughes have all knocked back IPL offers to concentrate on their international duties, but have since declared their availability from next year.

Trying to find a cricketer who is still rejecting IPL offers is akin to discovering an asylum seeker unwilling to settle on these shores.

A limit of 10 foreign players per IPL franchise remains. England's players will also miss the first half of the IPL season due to a series against Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, the IPL is set to use a pink ball in day-night trials. The game's lawmakers, Marylebone Cricket Club, hope the ball will solve the biggest hurdle to night Tests and after trials in India, they expect it to feature in the IPL.

It is another advancement in the game, but the advancement in player salaries threatens the value of national crests.

It is inevitable that cricket will follow football, where players earn millions from domestic teams and turn up in national colours every couple of years.

Ponting recently said he would address young players about the need to ignore big money for the pride of playing for their country.

Comparing these figures, the youngsters' parents and managers might tell them differently. (ANI)

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