Corporates had more knowledge about Symonds: Bindra

February 22nd, 2008 - 1:38 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, Feb 22 (IANS) Hyderabad’s franchise owners furiously chased Andrew Symonds during the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in the belief that Australia would cancel their tour of Pakistan, but they denied having any knowledge of his statements suggesting that he would pull out of the trip, reports Australian media. Should the tour proceed, however, Australians could play in up to six IPL matches in the small window before they travel to the West Indies in May, with Cricket Australia (CA) saying it would not object as long as coach Tim Nielsen did not require the squad to do preparatory training.

Symonds was flabbergasted Thursday after becoming the second-richest Twenty20 cricketer in the world with a price tag of $1.35 million a season over three years, and speculation was rife that the eight franchises at the auction had prior knowledge that he would be free to play every game of the inaugural league.

Symonds appeared on Australian television hours before the auction saying he would pull out if the Pakistan tour went ahead because of safety concerns, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

The IPL’s co-founder, Inderjit Singh Bindra, was quoted as saying by the daily as saying: “I have a suspicion the corporates had more knowledge then we did.

“I could not believe how much was bid for Symonds, the bidding was incredible, very fast. I am sure the owners knew he might be available because I can’t believe he is two-and-a-half times the value of Ricky Ponting, who the owners believed would not be available this year.”

Symonds’s manager Matt Fearon said he was not in contact with franchise owners before the auction started. Hyderabad’s co-owner N. Krishnan said Symonds was the team’s main target and he believed there was a strong chance the Pakistan tour would be called off, despite CA preparing to send a pre-tour security team to assess risks.

“We never knew about his comments but of course we always had a very strong suspicion that the tour would not go ahead, that the chances of this tour not taking place are quite high,” said Krishnan, chief financial officer of the Deccan Chronicle, the newspaper company that purchased Hyderabad’s franchise for $116.7 million.

The revised tour to Pakistan is scheduled between March 29 and April 27, while Australia’s first match in the West Indies is slated for May 16. Allowing for two days travel and rest either side of the tours, players could appear in five or six IPL games if Nielsen waves away any training camps for the West Indies.

For Symonds, five matches means roughly $550,000 in payments.

Krishnan said Symonds’s value was in his all-round ability.

“We needed to have multi-tasking people. The way we selected the team, we needed winning combinations and very strong players. Once we have success on the field, everything else will come.”

Symonds was at a loss to explain how he became such a sought-after commodity. “If I could tell you why that would probably be quite a good news story, but there is no sort of logical sense to what each player’s worth … I can’t see a pattern,” he said. “That’s quite amazing how that’s unfolded.”

Symonds indicated Thursday he may not back out of the Pakistan tour.

CA later confirmed that Symonds would not be eligible to play in the IPL during the Pakistan tour if it was to go ahead.

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting also reminded Symonds that such a move would breach his national contract.

“Whether it’s unfair or not, we’ve all signed off on it,” Ponting said. “There will be lots of safety and security measures put in place and there will be all sorts of security checks done throughout Pakistan over the next few weeks to let us know as a player group whether it is actually safe to tour or not.

“If it is seen to be safe and you don’t go then I think that’s where the breach of your contract would be.”

Meanwhile, Michael Clarke, who ruled himself out of the IPL to concentrate on his international career, has walked away from an estimated $873,000-a-year contract.

“That is my estimation,” Bindra said. “Players with multi-skills did very well in the auction, and Clarke is an exceptional cricketer who can bat, bowl and field very well so he would have been in high demand.”

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