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Warne and Lara linked to breakaway

Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne are set to again bowl in tandem, but it won't be in the baggy green.

Australia's most prolific bowling combination, along with recently retired West Indies batsman Brian Lara, have been linked to a made-for-television Twenty20 competition in India, which will operate outside the jurisdiction of the International Cricket Council and the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

The Indian Cricket League, funded by an Indian television network in competition with the BCCI's official rights holder, will be played shortly after the ICC-sanctioned Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa. It is understood prizemoney in the series may top $US1million ($1.2m).

Although organisers of the ICL have denied they are attempting to mimic Kerry Packer's World Series model, the parallels are evident. Capitalising on perceived player disenchantment with the game's administrators - and deterred by the exorbitant cost of televising ICC-sanctioned matches - the ICL hopes to lure Indian and overseas players with big-money contracts. Another Twenty20 series, funded by American billionaire Arthur Stanford, follows a similar model in the Caribbean and, along with the ICL, poses a potential threat to the ICC's sovereignty.

Just how advanced the ICL plan is is unclear. Although reports state McGrath has agreed to participate in the series, his agent, Warren Craig, yesterday said he was unaware of it. McGrath is scheduled to visit Dubai in the coming months for a series of television interviews, then South Africa for a week of public speaking engagements.

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