IPL won't ruin cricket, insists Gilly
Retiring star Adam Gilchrist believes international commitments will reign supreme and the Indian Premier League (IPL) could become cricket's equivalent of a gold watch.
Gilchrist is set to become one of the lucrative league's biggest stars when he bows out of the international game after this tri-series, but insists money will not motivate the world's leading players over Tests and other national duties.
Although Australia's stars are keen to take part in the inaugural IPL, scheduled to start in April, the keeper-batsman doubts the Twenty20 tournament will encroach on international cricket and threaten the game's wellbeing.
"I understand the fear of that happening, (but) I just really believe what motivates players to take on the journey, you have got to take and endure and enjoy to play for your country, it comes from more than just the financial side of it," Gilchrist said.
"It is a genuine passion, if you don't have it you are going to get found out.
"I think they will have genuine desires to fulfil their career, to make sure they get every bit out of their international careers as possible."
While participating players will earn big in the multi-million dollar league, Gilchrist expected IPL to have an entertainment focus.
That would suit recently-retired or departing players, and possibly make room for others in the international game.
"We see players at my age (36), there is going to be a natural transition from international cricket," he said.
"Probably when the real professional era has kicked in there has been a bit of a tendency for guys to hang on too long, and we don't see younger guys getting in as young as we used to.
"It might be the evening out process that there is something for the older guys to move into."
Australian players are yet to be assured of participating in IPL because of a sponsorship row and ongoing talks between the Indian and Australian boards.
Cricket Australia (CA), which does not want its players endorsing sponsors in the IPL which would compete with its own sponsors, admits it is concerned its players might not take part due to India's hard-line stance.
The IPL is adamant it will not provide protection for any sponsors, and chairman Lalit Modi has reportedly given Australia's players until Sunday to sign or face a three-year ban.
More than 80 players from across the world will be auctioned off to the eight IPL franchises on Wednesday, and Australia's world champions are in high demand.
"It's bloody hard work and a lot of midnight oil will need to be burned for it to work," CA spokesman Peter Young said.
"We have got a lot of concerns, a lot needs to be done quickly before we can feel comfortable."
However, Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) chief executive Paul Marsh was hopeful parties could reach an agreement before the weekend.
Gilchrist and retired trio Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer are the only Australians likely to take part in the entire IPL campaign.
Even with clearances, the only way Australia's Test players can compete this year is if their scheduled March-April tour of Pakistan is cancelled or postponed because of security concerns.
CA and ACA officials will wait until after next week's general elections in Pakistan before they send a delegation to assess security there.
CA chairman Creagh O'Connor has written to his Pakistan Cricket Board counterpart outlining "significant obstacles" standing in the way of Australia touring.
But Young said CA was yet to rule out the tour, and was still hopeful its concerns could be resolved.
Young said Pakistan's reported threat not to tour Australia in 2009 in retaliation was not related to the current uncertainty.
If Pakistan were to boycott their tour next year, they could be heavily fined by the International Cricket Council.
The only way member nations can avoid being fined for not fulfilling touring commitments is through legitimate security concerns or if they are advised not to by their governments, not by board-imposed boycotts.