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Michael Clarke out of Indian league

Australian batsman Michael Clarke has withdrawn from the Indian Premier League (IPL), along with three cricketing colleagues.

The IPL's Australian-based manager Neil Maxwell confirmed earlier wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and fast bowler Mitchell Johnson had declined to sign with the multi-million dollar Twenty20 competition.

Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) confirmed the pair had decided against signing so they could concentrate on establishing their fledgling international careers.

ACA chief executive Paul Marsh confirmed Clarke and fast bowler Jason Gillespie had also withdrawn.

Marsh said Clarke, widely considered the next Australian captain, also wanted to focus on managing his workload and concentrate on upcoming national commitments, which include the scheduled tours of Pakistan and the West Indies.

But Marsh was unsure for the reasons behind Gillespie's withdrawal.

Thirteen Australian players will take part in an unprecedented auction, where they will be purchased by the eight IPL franchises.

The Australian players taking part in the IPL are Ricky Ponting, Brett Lee, David and Mike Hussey, Matthew Hayden, Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist, Nathan Bracken, Cameron White, Simon Katich, Shane Warne, Justin Langer and Glenn McGrath.

Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) president Darren Lehmann has not only endorsed the Indian Twenty20 leagues, he wants to play in them.

Recent retiree Lehmann, 38, has put his hand up for a shot in the lucrative sub continent hit-and-giggle format, saying the controversial Indian leagues were "good for the game".

Apart from the official Indian Premier League (IPL) which will hold a player auction on Wednesday, big bucks have also drawn players to the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL).

"I'm every chance of playing in the ICL or IPL, no problems," Lehmann said in Brisbane.

"If an opportunity came up I would love to play. I would look at all offers."

The ex-South Australian skipper did not believe the leagues would have a detrimental effect on international cricket.

He was confident the ICL and IPL would "find its niche in the market".

"I think it will all come together and gel quite well - I am talking the ICC, the ICL and the IPL," he said.

"It will all work and find its niche in the market.

"I think it is good for the game.

"Certainly it is good for the boards, sponsors, the players, the fans and TV."

The burly left-hander believed the ICC and the leagues were "close" to finding a suitable window in the international schedule to best suit players.

"It's now about finding the time in the international schedule," he said.

"That comes down to the boards and the ICC coming together and really trying to nut out the best way for it to work."

Lehmann - a veteran of 117 ODIs and 27 Tests - said he understood speedster Mitchell Johnson and wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin opting against joining the lucrative IPL.

"You'd think they are going to be pretty busy with international cricket - they want to make sure that they are ready to go and playing for Australia each and every time," he said.

"They think that (IPL) is a window of opportunity to have a break, so you can't begrudge that either - it's up to each (player)."

Meanwhile, Lehmann said he was still unsure of the status of Australia's scheduled Pakistan visit in March-April despite daily talks with the government.

"We don't really know. We have to make sure we get the latest info with security," he said.

"We speak with the government daily.

"We will take advice from each player singularly and as a team, nut it out with Cricket Australia, take advice from security and the government.

"When it comes together we will work out what is best for world cricket."

source - smh.com.au
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