Australian cricket icon Adam Gilchrist believes that allowing any of Cricket Australia’s contracted stars to play in overseas T20 tournaments instead of the BBL while both are playing at the same time would be “commercial suicide.”
Gilchrist’s statement came after The Australian reported that David Warner had sought for permission to play in the inaugural season of the United Arab Emirates T20 League, dubbed the ILT20.
South Africa withdrew out of a three-match ODI series against Australia in January 2023 earlier this month, freeing numerous Australian international stars to play in the second half of the BBL.
However, Warner is rumoured to want to play elsewhere, which Gilchrist believes might have major ramifications.
“This is the big kicker, isn’t it, of possibly being the step towards being contracted to the club before or over country for the predominant amount of cricket you play,” Gilchrist told SEN.
“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.
Gilchrist believes it is less of a problem for the majority of the current crop of Australian internationals, but it might become a big issue when the next generation of players begins to emerge and is presented with such a decision.
“They can’t force David Warner to play in the BBL. I understand that.
“But to let him then go off, or another player, let’s not just single out Warner, because there will be other players on the radar, it’s all part of this, I guess, global dominance that these IPL franchises are starting to create given they own a number of teams in the Caribbean Premier League.
“They own all six teams I believe in the new South African tournament that’s coming up, which will be locking horns for commercial space and airtime with the Big Bash.”
“David Warner, again, using him as an example, we can’t question his commitment to Australian cricket over the years, he’s carved out one of the great careers,” Gilchrist said.
“If he 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 wherever 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 knowing that none of those big tournaments will be clashing with international cricket.”
The UAE-based tournament is set to run from January 6 to February 12 while the BBL will take place from December 13 to February 4.