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IPL can test players' loyalties: Symonds

Symonds suggested administrators ensure players do not cut short their international careers to play in the IPL or the rebel ICL.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Melbourne
UPDATED ON FEB 16, 2008 10:14 PM IST

Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds has warned that the massive financial carrot being dangled by the Indian Premier League could test the loyalties of top international players.

The burly Queenslander is one of the most sought-after cricketers for the BCCI-sponsored Twenty20 venture but said the amount of money cricketers can make by playing in the IPL for a short duration could raise some uncomfortable questions.

"The loyalty of Australian and other top international cricketers is definitely going to be tested over the next few years. Just last week we saw a couple of top Pakistanis join the rebel Indian Cricket League and there's a stack of Australian players keen to have a crack at the IPL," Symonds wrote in his column in 'The Sunday Telegraph'.

"The way things are heading, loyalty is really going to become a major issue, particularly when you can make more money in six or eight weeks than what you can in a whole season.

"Loyalty versus money always makes for an interesting debate. Who wouldn't be tempted to take a job offering more money for less work?" he wrote.

Symonds suggested administrators ensure players do not cut short their international careers to play in the IPL or the rebel ICL.

"Looking ahead, a lot of countries must confront the serious threat that it's more financially viable for blokes to retire and play IPL or even ICL. So the administrators want to be careful that international cricket doesn't suffer. They need to find a way to be able to work with the IPL so everyone's available."

"Otherwise you're going to have blokes retiring early or just saying, 'look, it's not worth the heartache. I can earn more in a very short period of time'," the hard-hitting batsman said.

Cricket boards in various countries have their task cut out, Symonds felt.

"Right now, you'd have to be nervous if you're a cricket administrator of any of the big cricket-playing countries. I'm talking the likes of Australia, South Africa and England.

"The pressure's on big time to really look after the players, especially at the peak and then coming down the back end of their careers. The bottom line is the money on offer in India is not going away and it may even get more and more tempting," he said.

However, Symonds maintained that players were not "over-paid spoilt brats" and the baggy green cap still was the biggest incentive for an Aussie cricketer.

"Sometimes there's a perception out there that cricketers are over-paid spoilt brats as it is who don't really have to work that hard.

"Trust me, I can assure you that's not the case. I love playing cricket for Australia, but I certainly don't consider it an easy job. Players are probably thinking differently to the administrators at the moment," he added.

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