Cricket Australia has told 11 Australian players including Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist it is disappointed with them for signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would allow them to play in the Indian Premier League. The IPL Twenty20 tournament is officially sanctioned by the ICC and in October it was announced that Ponting, Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Brett Lee, Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey and Matthew Hayden were among an extensive list of Australian players to have signed up.
But according to a report in the Sun-Herald James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive, has written to the players to express his frustration at their actions. The paper obtained a copy of the letter in which Sutherland said he was disappointed Cricket Australia had not been consulted prior to the signing of the MOUs.
"A number of significant issues remain unresolved, particularly regarding Australian players' participation in the proposed events and the terms of participation," Sutherland wrote. "Until CA is satisfied with the various terms and conditions associated with the IPL and CT20 [Champions Twenty20], CA will not consent to you or any other contracted player's participation in the aforementioned tournaments.
"You will no doubt be aware that this MOU sees you providing undertakings that will put you in conflict with your obligations to CA and/or your state association. In this context, I am disappointed that you have chosen not to discuss or advise CA of your decision."
Nathan Bracken, Mitchell Johnson, Brad Haddin, Jason Gillespie and the New South Wales-contracted Simon Katich were reported to have joined the league in October along with the other players. Sutherland said while Cricket Australia was generally supportive of the BCCI's plans to develop the ICL, several issues remained would need to be resolved before Australian-contracted cricketers could become involved.
The IPL season might clash with Australia's scheduled Test tour of Pakistan early next year, although the Pakistan trip has not yet been confirmed due to the political situation in the country. However Paul Marsh, the chief executive of the Australian Cricketers' Association, said the players knew that their national commitments should come first. "I had a discussion with the players before the Hobart Test and their commitment is to play for Australia," Marsh told AAP.
"As the calendar stands none of them will be able to play in the IPL for the next two years. The players have signed an MOU with the BCCI with the understanding there is a longer-term contract. This is currently being worked on to come later."
Cricket Australia's spokesman Peter Young said the players were unlikely to go against the wishes of Cricket Australia. "It would be a breach of contract to play without our permission," Young said.
"The status of the baggy green is more powerful than cash for any red-blooded Australian and cricketers will tell you that themselves. I don't think anyone is going to turn their back on a baggy green to play a short domestic competition somewhere else in the world."