Champions League 2008 June 23, 2008

Hayden and Hussey to put Australia first

Cricinfo staff

Matthew Hayden says Australia's warm-up match in India will take priority over the Champions League © Getty Images

Matthew Hayden and Michael Hussey have both confirmed that Australia's tour match in India in early October will take precedence over their potential involvement in the Champions League. Their comments are in contrast to the claim of IS Bindra, a member of the Indian Premier League (IPL) governing council, who said the pair would play for their IPL team, Chennai Super Kings, even though the Champions League clashes with Australia's tour of India.

Only one warm-up match is scheduled, to take place from October 2 to 5, before the first Test in Bangalore, which begins on October 9. Australia will have just been to the Champions Trophy in Pakistan, provided they do not pull out, and their players will be desperate for a lengthy hit-out ahead of such a major Test series.

Hayden said his IPL contract left no doubt that Australia's match would be his sole concern. "The rule is simple on this one," Hayden told the Australian. "If we are playing for Australia in any form our decision will be to honour that commitment first. There are no grey areas here."

For Hussey, playing for Chennai appears to be his third priority. He has already confirmed that he would prefer to represent his home state Western Australia, who have qualified for the Champions League as one of the two top Twenty20 teams in Australia's domestic tournament.

Although he would have reluctantly accepted that his contract gave Chennai precedence over Western Australia, the issue will probably be irrelevant in any case. The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Hussey told team officials on Sunday that he expected to be playing in the tour match and not in the Champions League.