Lee, now a victim of schism dividing Oz player participation in IPL

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Sydney, Feb.25 (ANI): Former Test spearhead Brett Lee is desperate to play in the third edition of the Indian Premier League that begins in India from March 12, and has involutarily become a victim of the schism dividing Australian players over the potential boycott of the tournament.

Confusion continues to reign over which Australian players will take part in the IPL from March 12 to April 25 following threats from an organisation called the 313 Brigade, an operational arm of the terrorist al-Qa'ida network, reports The Australian.

Following a long battle with injury, Lee announced his retirement from Test cricket yesterday in a bid to prolong his career but he needs to play in the IPL if he is to break into the Australian team for the Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies starting in April.

"It's a lovely entree into the T20 World Cup," Lee said of the IPL.

"For me personally, I've got to play some cricket. That's first on the agenda so that's what I'll be aiming at and trying to build the pace up through there and get back to a point where I feel really comfortable again."

The Australian reported yesterday the issue has divided Lee's former teammates with freelance former Test cricketers including Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist keen to tour while Cricket Australia-contracted players spearheaded by Ricky Ponting are being more cautious until better security is guaranteed.

Ponting is believed to have argued strongly for a united stand from all Australian players, putting him at odds with Hayden, Warne and Gilchrist.

All players have been presented with a report by security consultant Reg Dickason and anyone who boycotts the tournament could face lifetime bans which could cost players such as Lee, Warne, Gilchrist and Hayden millions of dollars.

While it has been suggested the tournament could be shifted to South Africa as a compromise, Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi has insisted the tournament will not be moved regardless of the security concerns.

"We are going to have the tournament in India. I can't see any reason why we should move it at this point in time," Modi said.

"Nobody in the world can safeguard the safety of the players in any tournament," he added. (ANI)

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