Pros and cons of IPL for Australian cricketers


Melbourne : Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist has conceded previous warnings of player burnout could be perceived as hypocritical as the nation’s elite cricketers queue to join the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), the Australian media reported Tuesday.

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According to The Age, Gilchrist along with captain Ricky Ponting, Brett Lee and Michael Clarke have signed a short-form memorandum of understanding with the IPL, although international commitments mean most of those current stars will be unavailable for the Twenty20 competition for the next two years.

But the IPL’s agent in Australia, Neil Maxwell, argues the new Twenty20 league could, in fact, reduce the workload on Australia’s cricketers, who would view a one-month stint in the tournament more favourably than a far longer tenure in English county cricket, the newspaper reported.

The report also said that Australian cricketers have signed to play an “external” competition after complaining of burnout over their current Cricket Australia (CA) commitments, prompting Gilchrist to concede that players needed to clarify their positions.

“I do see that, I think that’s definitely something Cricket Australia will feel, and that’s something we as a playing group have to consider,” Gilchrist was quoted as saying by the daily.

“(But) it has been going on for years and years. Players have been going to England in off-seasons and taking opportunities to play and learn the game and earn some good money over in England, so it’s not new. But I do understand critics might say that we are trying to get less (cricket), but when something else comes up we want more,” he said.

With leading players reportedly earning $250,000 just to sign with the IPL, it is little wonder the Australians have been lining up to add their signatures to the fledgling Twenty20 venture, the newspaper said.

Indeed, if they were to play a season with one of the eight Indian franchises, their earnings from the month-long tournament would equate to one of the higher pay grades available under CA’s central contract system.

Whereas critics of IPL believe it will only add to the already appreciable strain on Australia’s top players, Maxwell, who serves as both an agent to the league and to leading Australian players, including Lee and Michael Hussey, disagrees.

According to Maxwell, the IPL could actually enhance international cricket if players view the Twenty20 league as an alternative to traditional county stints.

“Players who have looked to make peripheral money in the past have tended to go to England, where they can be playing county cricket for as many as five months,” Maxwell was quoted as saying.

“This is an alternative to that. Here, you play 14 three-hour games over a month to earn comparable money to five months’ work in England. In that sense, it would lessen the overall workload and could complement international cricket,” he said.