Quit IPL, get 3-year deals, Australia board tells 5 top cricketers

Steven Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood

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MUMBAI: Even as reports surfaced from Down Under on Thursday morning that Cricket Australia had offered long-term contracts to five of its most valuable cricketers in exchange for not playing the IPL, it has come to light that the BCCIis busy planning a triangular series in Florida featuring Australia and England.

Cricket Australia’s move – it has offered three-year deals to stars Steven Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood in exchange for opting out of the IPL during their official leave – appears to be a clear case of backstabbing by member boards of the ICC, riding on India’s sidelining at the recent ICC meeting. However, at the same time, the BCCI is busy exploring pos sibilities of the series in the US to repeat the success of two T20 Internationals Florida hosted between India and the West Indies last year.

BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, it is learned, has been in talks with James Sutherland from Cricket Australia and Tom Harrison from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to finalise a triangular series – it couldn’t be confirmed if the West Indies have been invited to participate – and those talks were in the final stages.

CA’s team performance manager Pat Howard got in touch with Smith, Warner, Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood – five of the team’s MVPs – and asked them to not play the IPL. This was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday.

ICC’s independent chair man, Shashank Manohar, who is clearly not a fan of the IPL, has been invited by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) to watch the final on May 21 and it needs to be seen if the Indian cricket board will take up these matters with him.
The CoA had convinced members of the BCCI to not have a confrontational approach in the matter involving the ICC and led by ex-CAG Vinod Rai, the administrators had personally met member boards of the ICC a month ago to “negotiate” revenue and governance policies.

 

While the CoA clearly believes that the well-being of cricket should be kept in mind at all times, it is also of the strong belief that no harm should come to the IPL. “That is one of the reasons why the administrators did not want a confrontational approach with the ICC, so that the IPL can be protected,” a CoA member said.

In that case, it needs to be waited and seen if the CoA will allow any kind of arrangement to take place with CA and ECB without a tacit understanding on where they stand with regards to the IPL.

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