Back IPL or lose stars warns May
Players' union boss Tim May has warned world cricket could be ransacked of its best players unless the Indian Premier League is given a stand-alone spot on the International Cricket Council calendar.
A survey commissioned by the Australian Cricketers' Association has found 47 per cent of Cricket Australia's 25 contracted players and 49 per cent of state-contracted players would consider early retirement to play in either India's Twenty20 IPL tournament or the rebel Indian Cricket League.
The IPL, which begins next week, and the ICL, now in its second season, are staged while international cricket is held, prompting players to mull over the club-versus-country debate.
While the ACA survey results must seriously concern CA, May - the chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations - said the figures would be even greater if a survey was taken in cricket's poorer nations, where the staggering riches on offer in India are life-changing.
"If you look at it logically, the Australians are probably one of the better paid (teams). There isn't a great differential to what they (CA) are doing and the IPL," May said.
"It's far different for players from New Zealand, Zimbabwe, West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.
"Cricket needs to go down a path to . . . create a window for the IPL. That will act as a reasonable safeguard from early retirements, but it won't stop all.
"It's common sense, otherwise international cricket runs the real danger of losing international players before their time is out."
The survey also revealed 93 per cent of Australian players and 78 per cent of state players intended to play in other competitions after retiring from international cricket.