Sutherland, ICC mull T20 league dilemma

Rob Forsaith

James Sutherland and counterparts from around the world are in Ireland for the International Cricket Council's annual conference, with the proliferation of Twenty20 leagues among the many posers they'll seek to solve.

As banned stars Steve Smith and David Warner take their first steps towards redemption in Canada, Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive Sutherland and co. will debate the sport's problems in Dublin.

Harsher penalties for ball tampering and a points system for the new Test championship are likely to be rubber stamped but much discussion will centre on how best to manage domestic T20 leagues.

The new Global T20 has proven a timely godsend for Smith and Warner but some of the other talent in Toronto are faces of the challenge confronting administrators.

Australian master blaster Chris Lynn, who was touted as one of the Canadian event's marquee players, isn't taking part because his shoulder still isn't right.

But joining Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine and other regulars on the T20 circuit is Zimbabwean Sikandar Raza.

Raza's decision to play for the Montreal Tigers instead of representing his country against Australia makes an awful lot of financial sense, especially given Zimbabwe Cricket is yet to pay some players owed income that dates back almost a year.

It also underlines some of the risks involved with new T20 competitions "bobbing up all over the place", as Sutherland put it earlier this month.

"They need to be managed and regulated in such a way that the best cricketers still want to play international cricket. They aspire to that and they're incentivised to do that," Sutherland said, having been part of an ICC working group tasked with establishing how best to do that.

"We don't want to make it too easy for them to exit (international cricket) prematurely.

"I know it's top of mind for ICC."

Next year's Sheffield Shield final is expected to overlap with the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

If any Australians are affected by the clash, they're likely to arrive in India late - as Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell did this year because of the former's wedding.

Lynn could theoretically have been whacking the ball for Edmonton Royals while compatriots represented Australia in Zimbabwe but CA is generally safeguarded against T20 player drain.

One mooted solution is for leagues to pay a fee to international players' home boards.

The IPL is the only T20 tournament that currently does this but it is also the only domestic league that benefits from a gap in the international calendar.

Restricting participation, such as by capping the number of leagues a cricketer can take part in, has also been floated but that would be met with stern opposition from players and players' unions.