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Calendar fears from IPL demands

Cricket Australia fears that opening an annual window for the Indian Premier League could lead to the tournament chewing a big hole through the international calendar.

Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland, concerned that the West Indies board would allow three of its best players to play in the IPL instead of in Test matches against Australia in May and June, believes there is a risk India may become greedy and demand more and more free weeks as the tournament increases fan bases and finances.

"It's a six-week window one day, does it creep into eight, 10, 12 weeks when the IPL becomes a great success?" Sutherland asked.

"The moment it starts to compromise international cricket, we have concerns and doubts about the whole thing."

IPL organisers have already revealed plans to double the number of competing franchises to 16 possibly including overseas-based teams in the coming years. With more matches to be played, it seems highly likely any window would also have to increase.

West Indies captain Chris Gayle, and batsmen Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, will be unavailable for the opening two Tests of the series if their IPL sides make the finals, with their board conceding there was little chance of stopping them with so much money on offer.

West Indies board chief executive Donald Peters said he was still confident the series would attract interest without the three big names. "I believe people in the West Indies want to see our team play, and I personally feel if we can put a few young, exciting players out there, people will still come to watch the matches," he said.

The possibility of Australia playing a weak side in an empty stadium in the West Indies due to the IPL remains a concern for Sutherland and the international game.

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