'ICL threatens to tempt cricketers'
Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has hit out at the proposed Indian Cricket League (ICL), saying the million-dollar rebel series threatens to tempt ageing cricketers into early retirement while luring youngsters away from national duty.
"It's only a concern if there is huge money involved in it," Ponting said.
"If this sort of stuff gets off the ground, these guys won't even be playing with their mates, they'll be thrown into made-up teams. You'll be out there by yourself and trying to win some money," he was quoted as saying by the Herald Sun.
"The other thing being talked about is this (Allen) Stanford guy in the West Indies. The $23 million he's said to be offering is a concern because the way I look at it is people getting towards the end of their international career will think, 'If I'm guaranteed that, this kind of money might be a good thing'," he added.
Ponting felt such rebel series' suits only the likes of Brian Lara, for whom money can be a motivation to carry on for bit longer after giving up his international career.
"I think it will only be people towards the end of their careers like Lara (who was last week signed by the ICL). Look, it might work out really well for them - play a bit more cricket for money on top - but it's not something I've looked at," he added.
Concerned about the impact that the ICL could have on youngsters, Ponting said it would hardly be of any benefit for young cricketers to play in the series, which was more of a money-making exercise.
"I'm not sure what these 18- or 19-year-olds who aren't state contracted will learn from Twenty20 cricket. I read where Deano said it will help these guys out. It won't help them out; it will help Dean out. It will help the people running the event," Ponting said.
"I can't see how these young kids playing Twenty20 cricket will do much in giving them an upbringing in learning much about the game," he added.
Former Australian coach John Buchanan, meanwhile, felt that Allen Stanford's proposed Twenty20 bash in West Indies was a bigger revolution waiting to happen than the ICL.
"The ICL is a fantastic concept but from the bigger point of view, I think Stamford is making the real moves. The stumbling block for him is getting the backing of the West Indies Board," he said.
"If that happens, you could have a whole new development in the game with international tournaments. Twenty20 shouldn't take over from 50-overs cricket and Tests will always be the pinnacle, but we'd be silly to get in the road of Twenty20," he added.
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