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Cricket Australia offers Aussie players multiyear contracts to skip IPL

Even as reports surfaced from Down Under on Thursday (May 11) that Cricket Australia had approached five of its most valuable cricketers to sign long-term contracts with the board in exchange for giving up the prospect of playing the Indian Premier League, it comes to light that the Board of Control for Cricket in India is busy planning a triangular series in Florida, featuring Australia and England.

According to report in Times of India , In what seems to be a clear case of backstabbing on part of member boards of the International Cricket Council (ICC), riding on the recent sidelining of India at the governing body’s Board meeting, Australia have been busy convincing its cricketers to sign a three-year contract with the board and forgo playing the IPL during that period.

As this happens in one part of the cricketing globe, the BCCI is busy exploring the United States to repeat the success of the two T20 Internationals they tasted, with Florida hosting India and West Indies last year.

BCCI CEO, Rahul Johri, is said to be in talks with James Sutherland from CA and Tom Harrison from the England and Wales Cricket Board to finalise a triangular series. It couldn’t be confirmed if West Indies too have been invited to participate and whether those talks were in the final stages.

Last week, the ECB had refused to allow its cricketers to extend their stay in the IPL alongside South Africa. TOI had reported on Tuesday that Cricket South Africa had written to Johri saying it would be willing to allow its cricketers to extend their stay in the IPL if BCCI confirmed dates for India’s tour of South Africa later this year along with a confirmation to play the Boxing Day Test.

CA’s team performance manager Pat Howard got in touch with five members of the Australian team’s MVPs – Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood and asked them to not play the IPL. This was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday.

ICC’s independent chairman, Shashank Manohar, who is clearly not a fan of the IPL, has been invited by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) to watch the final on May 21 and one has to wait and see if the Indian cricket board will take up these matters with him.

The CoA had convinced members of the BCCI to not have a confrontational approach in the matter involving the ICC and led by ex-CAG Vinod Rai, the administrators had personally met member boards of the ICC a month ago to “negotiate” revenue and governance policies.

While the CoA clearly believes that the well-being of cricket should be kept in mind at all times, it is also of the strong belief that no harm should come to the IPL. “That is one of the reasons why the administrators did not want a confrontational approach with the ICC, so that the IPL can be protected,” a CoA member said.

In that case, one has to wait and see if the CoA will allow any kind of arrangement to take place with CA and ECB without a tacit understanding on where they stand with regard to the IPL.

“For starters, Johri needs to be very cautious about what he’s agreeing to with CA and ECB for Florida,” an official in the know of things said.

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