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Twenty20: McGrath to return

0565130400.jpgFOUR months into retirement and five months away from his 38th birthday, Glenn McGrath is the subject of a bizarre tug-of-war for his services.

Fast bowling champion McGrath, who retired after Australia won the World Cup final in Barbados in April, has spent the past month mulling over a high six-figure offer from the Indian Cricket League, which is starting a rebel competition Twenty20 league next month.

Now he has also received an approach from a rival Twenty20 competition as world cricket officials scramble to regain control of their game.

McGrath’s second approach has come from an Indian agent acting on behalf of a new hastily organised Twenty20 competition which will be sanctioned by the International Cricket Council and feature teams from Australia, India, England and South Africa.

CA has summoned chief executives and marketing officials from all states to Sydney next Tuesday for a meeting to discuss the project.

McGrath’s manager Warren Craig declined to speculate on McGrath’s future yesterday but confirmed he had not signed anything.

McGrath said recently the prospect of returning to cricket via the Twenty20 game was appealing. “If it was for Test cricket I couldn’t do it but this format suits,” he said.

In the new worldwide competition which CA will endorse, it will be proposed that the top two teams from each country’s domestic competition will qualify for an international playoff series planned for late next year.

Teams may be privately owned and allowed to have guest players such as retired greats like McGrath or players from other nations who are not needed by their countries at that time.

If, for instance, Andrew Flintoff is not playing for England he may join an Australian team, gaining the right to earn several hundreds of thousands of dollars for a few weeks work.

Though teams are expected to have a salary cap they will be given special dispensation for marquee signings.

Officials are concerned some of the game’s profits could leak out of the sport to private owners of the teams, but their priority is to keep control of their game.

Cricket’s top authorities have been jolted into action by the rebel Indian league which has seized on the popularity of the Twenty20 game that has drawn sellout crowds in Australia, South Africa and England.

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