Australia consider international break for IPL
The push for an international window to stage the Indian Premier League is growing with Cricket Australia signalling its willingness to join talks about rearranging the ICC's Future Tours Programme. The board has yet to release its players, including the soon-to-be-retired Adam Gilchrist, for the inaugural tournament in April amid concerns over protection of its sponsors.
There are high-level negotiations between Cricket Australia and the IPL, who are demanding the Australians sign by Sunday or miss out, over this year's event, but future series of the Twenty20 competition may experience fewer set-up problems. Paul Marsh, the Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive, has suggested the six-week international break and the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations also supports the move.
James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, is now ready to debate the merits of the idea, which if implemented would keep the players happy. The issue is likely to come up when the chief executives of the game's major countries meet next week in Kuala Lumpur.
"James Sutherland is willing to participate in discussion and debate about creating a window in the Future Tours Programme so players can play in the IPL, as long as it is a window that recognises the genuine interests of the FTP and all ten ICC nations," the Cricket Australia public affairs manager Peter Young told the Sydney Morning Herald. "We are still of the view that [the contract disagreement] is capable of resolution. It's going to be tough, but we believe we can get through."
Jason Gillespie, who will be for sale to a franchise in the player auction on February 20, supports the idea of a Test and ODI break. "It's certainly worth considering as this thing will really take off," Gillespie said in the Herald Sun. "It's a positive for the game and I think administrators are embracing Twenty20."
The amounts on offer from the IPL for a six-week competition dwarf players' national payments and have already led to complaints from some Australians about the board's slow pace at solving the current problem. However, if Australia's tour of Pakistan goes ahead the negotiations will have been redundant as the trip clashes with the tournament.