Australian cricket December 9, 2008

NSW chief warns against IPL contracts creating rifts

Cricinfo staff

Dave Gilbert thinks David Warner could be "the Kolpak player of Australian cricket" © Getty Images

The Cricket NSW chief executive Dave Gilbert has urged players not to let the high-value contracts offered by IPL franchises affect the team's performance. His comments follow the signing by Kolkata Knight Riders of the allrounder Moises Henriques, 21, for a reported US$300,000.

Two other young players from New South Wales, the batsman David Warner and allrounder Steven Smith, have also been linked to the Twenty20 competition, even though Warner hasn't made his first-class debut and Smith has played only five matches. "During the pre-season I addressed the entire squad and told them what I thought would happen in terms of contracts in India," Gilbert told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"I warned them not to let IPL jealousies get in the way of our team or our objectives. We don't want a situation where one player earns X and another earns Y and there are problems. At the moment we have not seen this thing fully play out. I don't think anyone yet really understands the ramifications of what we are seeing."

He felt Henriques' case "might just be the beginning" of teams targeting lesser-known players instead of shelling out big money for internationals who have national team commitments. Gilbert said Warner, who hit a New South Wales record 165 off 112 balls in his seventh domestic one-day game last month, could be "the Kolpak player of Australian cricket".

"He could be the guy who becomes the first player to put the realities of Twenty20 into focus," he said. "He is making large strides in the game and generating a lot of excitement without having played a first-class game.

"You can't blame him [from looking to the IPL]. He is a state-contracted player earning a modest income and for a 22-year-old, some of the figures that are being tossed around must be mind blowing. We have no issues at all with him [negotiating with IPL franchises] … We just don't want it to impact on our own domestic leagues."

The recent interest shown in New South Wales players had also brought into question the role of the coach Matthew Mott, who is also an assistant coach to John Buchanan in the Kolkata-based team. Mott, though, felt the contracts would aid New South Wales in the long run.

"I think the IPL will be of enormous benefit to these guys, it is a great opportunity to play with the best players in the world," he said. "Sometimes you have to pinch yourself when you look around the room. These are players that really made their mark in international cricket. You can't really get a more contracted bunch of players of that calibre together in one competition anywhere else."

Greg Shipperd, the Victoria coach, is hoping to sign a few players for Delhi Daredevils, the IPL franchise he also looks after. "The franchises have realised there is perhaps more value for money in some of our state players, you don't have to be a super name - you just need an opportunity," Shipperd said. "I certainly hope a number of Victorian guys get the chance to play. [Delhi] are nibbling around and formulating, we're just going through the set-up of the draft and player exchange and doing our homework."