Aussie star's record $3.2m deal in doubt over coronavirus

It's been another day of unprecedented chaos in the sporting world on Tuesday and the coronavirus pandemic could have multi-million dollar ramifications for some of Australia's best cricketers.

Cricket Australia (CA) on Tuesday ended the Sheffield Shield season prematurely, advising all lower-tier competitions to shut down in response to the virus crisis.

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The situation has also had a flow-on effect to Australia's top players, with the recent one-day international (ODI) series against New Zealand called off and the Black Caps flying home.

Now, Australia's leading stars such as Steve Smith and Pat Cummins could be prevented from playing in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) as cricket chiefs continue to take drastic measures to limit the threat of coronavirus.

Pat Cummins' record IPL deal is under threat because of coronavirus. Pic: Getty

Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts said on Tuesday that players contracted to IPL franchises would be allowed to make their own decision with regard to competing in the competition in India, which begins on April 15 after being delayed from its initial March 29 start date.

However, The Australian has reported that CA is reviewing whether or not to allow Aussie players to participate in the IPL or The Hundred series in the UK.

If cricket chiefs ban Australia's stars from competing in the competitions, it will have a multi-million dollar effect on some of our biggest stars.

Cummins signed on with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the richest ever deal for an overseas player.

The Aussie fast bowler’s whopping $3.2 million deal would be under threat if restrictions are imposed on players by CA.

Smith and Glenn Maxwell would also be significantly hit financially after signing deals worth $2.4 million and $2.2 million respectively.

Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins would all be hit hard if CA imposes an IPL ban. Pic: Getty

Roberts appreciates that coronavirus represents a moving beast for sporting organisations, but is confident players and cricket officials will come to an acceptable agreement.

“We can provide advice. We’re conscious of the fact that Australian players are individually contracted to the IPL and the time will certainly come very soon where players are going to be really interested and leaning on our perspective as their leader... to advise them in that regard,” he said.

“And then there will also be a perspective from the BCCI and their IPL division within that and together with our players and the BCCI I’m sure players will reach the best possible decisions in uncertain circumstances.”

Indian cricket's governing body, the BCCI, took the decision to delay the start of the IPL after Delhi banned all sporting activity in the nation's capital due to the virus crisis.

Coronavirus forces drastic Sheffield Shield call

It follows similar moves from sporting codes around the globe, with Australia's domestic cricket competition the latest to feel the pinch on Tuesday.

Roberts says it was a unanimous decision to award the NSW Blues the Sheffield Shield title with no prospect of a final being played as scheduled from March 27.

He said the Blues' big lead after nine rounds contributed to the agreement to award them the title rather than finish the season with a non-winner.

"A decision has been made at the state and territory chairman level together with our chairman, Earl Eddings, to cancel the Sheffield Shield final," Roberts said.

"It's really disappointing but it's the right thing to do in the circumstances and congratulations to NSW.

"By effectively cancelling the remainder of our season, Cricket Australia is playing its part in protecting fans, players, staff, volunteers and match officials during this unprecedented global health issue."

CA is also strongly recommending all other cricket competitions around the nation cease, although Roberts says the final decision remains with those organisations.

Roberts said CA had also closed its Melbourne headquarters with all staff told to work from home indefinitely.

With agencies