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Australian cricketers take a step forward before signing MoU

Neil Maxwell and Steve Atkinson, representing cricketers from Down Under, were here on Thursday to facilitate the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the players and the IPL, reports K Kumaraswamy.
By K Kumaraswamy | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 07, 2008 10:46 PM IST

Notwithstanding Cricket Australia's (CA's) reservations and their existing national commitments, top Australian players are all set to sign on the dotted line with the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Neil Maxwell and Steve Atkinson, representing cricketers from Down Under, were here on Thursday to facilitate the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the players and the IPL.

"It is the Long Form Agreement, a two-page document. We had a discussion with Lalit Modi (IPL Commissioner and a Vice-President of BCCI)," Maxwell told Hindustan Times. "We are here to work through the players' contracts … The MoU covers the obligations of the players and the IPL."

CA had raised the issue of protection of its sponsors when the Australian players take part in the IPL. But Maxwell believed the players were well within their right to sign up.

"The CA has to work that through with the BCCI. As Modi had said on a number of occasions, the sponsors don't get protection when the Australian players play in the English County," he said.

Also, the Australian team is scheduled to tour Pakistan around the same time the inaugural IPL - 59 matches over 44 days - is to be held, although the political situation has raised doubts about the fixture going ahead. Maxwell said that CA was yet to convey to the players a final decision about the tour, one way or the other.

Asked how the IPL would fit into the international calendar when the Test-playing nations were committed to the Future Tours Programme at least till 2011, Maxwell said: "The IPL has a role in the calendar each year. It is only going to grow in significance in time."

Moody for IPL

The list of players represented by Maxwell included Tom Moody, the former all-rounder who coached Sri Lanka to the World Cup final in the West Indies last year. "After what happened last month, a lot of players want to rebuild and strengthen their ties with India," Maxwell said. The Mumbai matches, it was decided, would be held at the Brabourne Stadium.

Twenty per cent of tickets for state associations

BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah said that it had been decided to reserve "20 per cent of the tickets to the state associations." Allotting tickets for matches to the club members and the local state association had been foreseen a thorny issue. Shah did not give a clear reply when asked if that percentage also included the members of the Cricket Club of India (CCI), set to host the Mumbai matches, though.

The eight franchises are scheduled to meet the IPL bosses over the next two days when many prickly issues are to be sorted out.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the player auction is tentatively set for February 20.

In the league

Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Stephen Fleming, Brett Lee, Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden, Nathan Bracken, Cameron White, Mike Hussey, Jason Gillespie, Justin Langer and Tom Moody.

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