IPL claims first call on overseas stars
The Twenty20 revolution continues to change the face of the sport with confirmation of a $5million international club champions league scheduled across 10 days in late September and early October.
The tournament will see the IPL teams flex their significant financial muscle and retain the loyalties of international players bought at auction over their home states and counties.
The Australian Twenty20 finalists, Victoria and Western Australia, will compete against the IPL's Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings, the Titans and Dolphins from the South African Pro20 league and the two best sides from this year's English domestic T20 Cup.
When the idea of the competition was first revealed last August, it was thought the prizemoney would be only $2 million, but the success of the IPL has seen that more than double.
While the chance to share in such a large amount of cash is an enormous boost to Australia's state sides, which compete for about $30,000 in the domestic competition, the downside is that the IPL has insisted that its privately owned franchises retain their international players when a clash of loyalties occur.
Indian cricket chief Lalit Modi was emphatic last night when asked about player loyalties in the new league saying it had been clearly established that the private franchises had first priority and would pay a fee to the states or home teams.
"In the case of Michael Hussey, Chennai Super Kings has the option to keep him and pay a relieving fees to Western Australia. The option is with Super Kings," he was quoted as saying on Cricinfo.
The IPL chairman said that any side which included a player from the Indian Cricket League would be disqualified from competing.
"No exceptions will be made under any circumstances," Modi said.
There are 24 players in the English domestic competition signed to the ICL.
Former Victoria captain Shane Warne will find himself captaining Rajasthan against his home state in the competition, but Victorian chief executive Tony Dodemaide said the chance to share in such an enormous prize pool more than made up for the strange circumstance.
"I think this could be a very positive step for cricket," Dodemaide said.
"We are really looking forward to the chance of competing, our understanding is there will be a participation fee and the majority of the incentive will be at the pointy end."
Dodemaide said he and other states expected "significant compensation" should IPL teams demand rights over its players.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said that he was excited by the tournament.
He and chairman Creagh O'Connor have been in discussions during the past week with the ECB, South African cricket and the Board of Control for Cricket in India and have reached an agreement in principle.
Unlike the IPL, which is a subsidiary of the BCCI, the champions league is owned evenly by the four competing countries and all will share in the revenue.
Sutherland said the Twenty20 revolution would continue with a revamp of the state competition under way.
He said private ownership may be considered in future, but he was more interested in the short term in introducing New Zealand Twenty20 teams to the Australian domestic league.
Economies of scale rule out Australia conducting its own IPL.
"India is very different to Australia. It is a much bigger country and has a huge economy and also we've got Indian fans that are absolutely one dimensional in their approach to cricket," he said.
The Champions League will be held in India or the United Arab Emirates. The four countries involved have been assigned different roles to prepare for the champions league, with the Australians being asked to draft the rules for the tournament.