Warne joins player pool for Indian Twenty20 league
Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Stephen Fleming have made themselves available for the Indian Premier League (IPL), an officially-sanctioned domestic Twenty20 competition to be held in India in April 2008.
"Warne, McGrath and Fleming have signed contracts to play in the IPL," Lalit Modi, the BCCI vice-president, told AFP. "The trio will be a part of our centralised pool of players and available for signing by the franchises."
The Sun-Herald said Warne had accepted the IPL's offer of "significantly less" than the US$700,000 a season that the Indian Cricket League (ICL) was reportedly prepared to pay him. The ICL pursued Warne for more than four months but he was reluctant to commit as that group was not approved by the ICC.
The IPL is modelled on the system of franchises used by the American NFL and NBA. Each franchise will pay a fee to the BCCI, which will give it access to shared revenues and the right to exploit exclusive revenue. There will also be a draft, similar to the one used in the US, which will allow the buying and selling of players.
McGrath and Fleming were present at the launch of the Champions League - the proposed international tournament featuring top teams from four countries - in New Delhi on September 13. According to the report, Fleming, who was on the verge of signing with the ICL, made himself available to the IPL for a lower fee. McGrath, who retired from all forms of cricket at the end of the World Cup, had said he was tempted by the ICL offer but now he could be playing for an Indian domestic team by April next year.
The ICL, backed by the Essel group in India, is also a Twenty20 league - though not recognised by the ICC or any of the national boards - that has signed at least seven international players including Brian Lara, Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq, as well as more than 50 Indian domestic players. In its first year the ICL will feature six teams with two Indian internationals, four overseas players and eight juniors in each side. They play their first tournament next month.
The newspaper reported that Warne would play for Hampshire until the end of the English season and then go to India and join one of the IPL teams. If his team qualified for the league final he would play in the Champions League, where he could possibly be traded to the highest bidder.