Adam Gilchrist believes Cricket Australia would be committing “commercial suicide” if it allows David Warner to play in a new T20 league to be run at the same time as the Big Bash League.
According to a report in The Australian, Warner looks set to snub the BBL, having sensationally sought permission to play in the inaugural United Arab Emirates T20 league, to be held in January and February in direct competition with the BBL.
The news is a significant blow to Cricket Australia’s hopes of attracting its core group of contracted players to the domestic T20 tournament, especially given the cancellation of the South African ODIs sees the national players theoretically available after the conclusion of the Sydney Test on January 8.
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IPL franchises Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals have all invested in teams in the new UAE league. IPL franchises also own all six sides in the new South African T20 league.
Speaking on SEN radio, Gilchrist said he was concerned about the IPL’s gradual takeover of T20 across the world.
“I think it would almost be commercial suicide for them (Cricket Australia) to allow a player like him (Warner) to go head-to-head up against their own competition,” he said.
“They can’t force David Warner to play in the BBL, I understand that, but to let him then go off … it’s all part of this global dominance that these IPL franchises are starting to create given they own a number of teams in the Caribbean Premier League.”
Gilchrist said it was likely other players would be on the radar of the UAE league.
To play in overseas domestic T20 competitions, like the IPL, contracted players currently must receive a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Cricket Australia.
Warner does not have a contract with any BBL team.
From this summer, the BBL will be in competition with both the UAE and the South African leagues.
The BBL has introduced a new draft system for international players, however it’s expected many – including Faf du Plessis who was the first player to sign up for the draft – will cut short their BBL season to play in either of the other leagues.
There is suggestion in the coming years that IPL clubs will contract their star players for a full 12-month period, which would also see them play not only in the IPL, but also in the Caribbean, UAE and South African Leagues.
“It’s getting a little bit dangerous the grip that it’s having to monopolize that ownership and the ownership of the players and their talents and where they can and can’t play,” Gilchrist said.
“If (Warner) rides off into the sunset and says, ‘Sorry Australian cricket, I’m going to become a gun for hire for my Indian franchise team in various tournaments’, you can’t question him on that, that’s his prerogative and he’s done everything he needs to get the profile and get that market value.
“It’s the new younger player coming in that starts to make those noises where it’ll be really challenging.
“Perhaps it’s the first example where David Warner doesn’t sign a contract with Cricket Australia at all, he just plays for a match fee.
“He goes and plays whatever he wants but says, ‘I’m available for every Test match, for every one-day international and every T20 international’, by way of example, I’ll be there for you in national colours.
“But other than that, I’m going to play my club, my franchise cricket, wherever I want to know that none of those big tournaments will be clashing with international cricket.”
Warner has not played in the Big Bash since 2013.
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