Thursday, February 7, 2008

Board interference would be 'unfair' - Ponting

Ricky Ponting wants the IPL to go ahead...

Ricky Ponting says Cricket Australia should not attempt to make its sponsorship deals globally recognised if such a move would stop current Australian players joining the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Australian board is concerned that its players might endorse products that clash with its own deals, as part of their IPL agreements.

However, the IPL chairman Lalit Modi said the league would press on without Ponting and his men if Cricket Australia pursued worldwide sponsorship protection, and Ponting was not keen on that possibility. "There are already some globally-protected sponsors of Cricket Australia, there are a couple of them," Ponting said.

"I don't think Cricket Australia would be able to make any of their other sponsors global sponsors ... If they tried to do that I'm sure the players' association would have something to say about it. It would be a little bit unfair if that was the case."

Ponting and his team-mates stand to earn significant pay cheques for joining the IPL and they would be understandably frustrated if their agreements fell through. He saw no reason for Cricket Australia not to clear players to take part in the league.

"It's a domestic competition, as county cricket is," Ponting said. "There's never been any worry about Cricket Australia releasing guys to go and play county cricket. That's the reason Cricket Australia backed it all in the first place, because it was a domestic tournament and it wouldn't be actually taking Australian players away from their domestic competitions or the Australian team."

However, the chances of seeing Ponting and his men representing IPL franchises this year depend largely on whether Australia's scheduled tour of Pakistan goes ahead, as the trip would clash with the Indian tournament. Ponting said with the exception of the retiring Adam Gilchrist, who looks set to play, the Australians had shelved all thoughts about the league for the time being.

"I haven't even thought about the IPL," Ponting said. "We've had a lot on our plate over the last few weeks. The likelihood of us Australian players being able to play this year anyway was pretty minimal. We'll worry about all those other outside distractions, if you like, once this summer is over and done with."