Michael Clarke has decided not to join the Indian Premier League, although ten of his current team-mates and three retired stars will take part in the player auction on Wednesday. Clarke was the most notable absentee from the list of Australians who had signed long-form agreements, which also does not feature Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin.
"The IPL is a great competition and I love Twenty20 and playing in India, but the timing is not right for me from a family and cricket perspective," Clarke said in the Australian. "I'm 26 and I want to give myself every chance of having a long career for Australia. I just want to win the CB Cup, the Pura Cup for New South Wales and take the old man fishing."
Neil Maxwell, the agent who has been working with the IPL and Australia's players, said Johnson and Haddin were instead aiming to focus on their developing international careers. Johnson would have been considered one of the top bowlers had he registered for the auction, while multi-skilled players like Haddin will be in high demand. Jason Gillespie, who holds a Cricket Australia contract, was also expected to join the league but has not signed up.
As well as high-profile players like Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds, the bidding war will include fringe internationals such as David Hussey, Simon Katich and Cameron White. Maxwell said Adam Gilchrist would be one of the major drawcards in the tournament and he was likely to receive close to a seven-figure sum.
"He will earn considerable money," Maxwell told Sydney radio's 2KY. "I don't think it will be quite a million, maybe in Australian dollars he will go close.
"The top players, for six weeks' work, could be earning, dare I say it, $70,000 to $80,000 a week, quite comfortably I'd suggest for some of those top ones. It's in the realms of the English Premier League, which for a long time players have wanted to aspire to."
In another development Darren Lehmann, the president of the Australian Cricketers' Association, is considering signing for the unofficial Indian Cricket League. Last week Cricket Australia said any players joining the tournament would have their contracts terminated, but Lehmann retired earlier in the season.
However, he told the Australian he had received the board's permission. "We have discussed it already and cleared up that situation to make sure if it came to that I could play," Lehmann said. "It's a good opportunity to play, playing against guys you have played with and against and yeah, it's really good coin. They're probably the reasons you'd go."
Australians in the IPL auction Nathan Bracken, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Simon Katich, Justin Langer, Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath, Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds, Shane Warne, Cameron White.