'Loyalty vs money will confront cricketers'
Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds believes international cricketers are in for a tough time with the arrival of cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) as they will have to decide between "loyalty and money".
Symonds said the massive financial carrot dangled by the IPL would make any cricketer to think of premature retirement and reap the dividends.
"The loyalty of Australian players and other top international cricketers is going to be tested over the next few years," Symonds wrote in his column in The Daily Telegraph's Sunday edition.
"Loyalty versus money always makes for an interesting debate. Who wouldn't be tempted to take a job offering more money for less work? On the flip side, there's a big argument that logic doesn't apply when you are representing your country in professional sport," he said.
Cricket boards' around the world have already raised their concern on players falling to the lure of money on offer in IPL and retiring early, but Symonds said the administrators would have to be careful and see that the game does not suffer.
"Right now, you would have to be nervous if you are a cricket administrator of any of the big cricket-playing countries. I'm talking the likes of Australia, South Africa and England. The pressure is on big time to look after the players, especially those at their peak and then coming down the back end of their careers."
"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 work with the IPL so that everyone is available," he said.
The all-rounder said another interesting element would be the reaction of fans if players decide to retire earlier and chase the money. However, for him baggy green will always be the first preference.
"For me, there's no question the baggy green cap is still the jewel in the crown of Australian cricket. But the way things are heading, loyalty is going to become a major issue, particularly when you can make more money in six or eight weeks than you can in a season," he said.
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