The third edition of the Indian Premier League, scheduled to begin in March, is under controversy after the Shiv Sena has opposed the participation of Australian cricketers in the domestic Twenty20 event, in the wake of ongoing attacks on Indian nationals Down Under.
With 26 Australian players participating in the tournament, about Rs 35 crore is riding on them.
While Mukesh Ambani-owned Mumbai Indians outfit does not have any Australian player, Hyderabad’s Deccan Chargers has nearly Rs 9 crore at stake for three players from that country — Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist and Ryan Harris.
Kings XI Punjab, co-owned by Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia, spends almost Rs 7.5 crore for five players, including Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh and James Hopes. Shilpa Shetty co-owned Rajasthan Royals has the maximum Australian players, almost six players worth Rs 5.2 crore.
Star Australian players like Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist, who represent Deccan Chargers, Shane Warne (captain of Rajasthan Royals) and Brett Lee (Kings XI) are crucial for their teams.
“Credibility of IPL-3 may take a hit if Australian players are not allowed to play in Mumbai. However, due to security reasons, team owners may decide not let their Australian cricketers play in the matches to be held in Mumbai, which maybe just one of the 14 matches,” said Indranil Blah, sports manger and former vice-president of Globosport.
Mumbai will host 10 matches — the inaugural one, seven home games, one semi-final and the final. The first match of IPL-3 was originally scheduled for Hyderabad on March 12, but in the backdrop of the agitation over Telangana statehood demand, it was shifted to Mumbai.
Sources added if the Telangana issue continued, the seven home matches for Deccan Chargers could be shifted to Mumbai.
However, IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi, in a recent press conference, said: “We will look into the matter when we come closer to the tournament. We will take all necessary measures required to conduct the league.”
The 45-day extravaganza is slated to begin on March 12 and will conclude on April 25.
Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray has been quoted in media reports as saying that his party would not allow Australian cricketers to take part in IPL.