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Could make cricket stronger

A REBEL Twenty20 cricket league may make the game stronger rather than pull it apart, Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist said today.

The Indian-based league is set to launch in October and has already recruited retired West Indian great Brian Lara, with several players including Australian legends Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne also linked.

Most world cricket bodies have threatened current players linked to the unofficial competition they will be ineligible for national selection if they sign up.

However, Gilchrist believes the rebel league could be turned into a positive for cricket, ensuring stronger ties between players and their respective world body.

“I don’t see it as a particularly bad news story,” he said today on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, during a week-long team briefing. “Competition in the market place is always healthy.

“And if that helps establish a better bond between players and the respective boards in the other countries it’s great.

“It’s a delicate scenario. It’s making the (world body) ICC and the member countries and administrators realise how valuable this product is and how valuable the players are and they are very aware of that.

“And they are doing all they can to make sure they move with the times and be at the forefront of that market.”

Current New Zealand players such as skipper Stephen Fleming, as well as former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq, have been linked to the rebel league which is being bankrolled by Zee Telefilms, India’s largest listed media company.

Each rebel team will comprise four international players, two Indian stars and eight upcoming cricketers with matches to be played across India in October and November. Gilchrist did not expect any current Australian players to be lured by the competition.

“I can’t comment on the other countries, it may be a very different landscape there, but we are very, very well supported by Cricket Australia,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that.

“Primarily they (rebel league) seem to be targeting retired players so I don’t know of any poaching attempts of current Australian contracted players so I don’t think it (player recruitment) is getting to ugly, indecent levels.

“Twenty20 is a popular format at the moment. It seems to be what the consumer wants.”

Gilchrist will fly out with the Australian team on Monday for the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.
Fellow squad member Shaun Tait said of the rebel series: “There’s not much we can do about it really. They are setting up these rebel tours which might generate a fair bit of money. These guys who have retired, they can make up their own minds.

“Young guys like myself, we don’t think about it too much, because we are striving to play consistent cricket for Australia. But that’s their decision and there’s obviously money to be made.”

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