Cricket Australia has made an attempt to lure away its key players from the lucrative IPL by offering them multi-year central contracts, a report has claimed.
A Sydney Morning Herald report claimed that Pat Howard, CA's Executive General Manager of team performance, made the approaches at a time when the governing body and the Australian Cricketers' Association are in dispute over a new pay deal for the players.
The CA wants to keep the players fresh during their off days in April and May when the cash-rich League is played and insisted that there is nothing "sinister" behind the move.
The offer, made to Test captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and fast bowlers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, however, were met with a lukewarm response from the players, who normally get a one-year contract.
The terms of the multi-year deals discussed informally with Howard were regarded by the players as underwhelming, with the only perceived incentive for them missing the IPL being the security of a three-year contract, the report said.
It is believed that if CA had to succeed in its move, it has to come up with big cash incentive since Steve Smith and David Warner, who captain their IPL franchises, collect more than USD 1 million a year. Their earning capacity is set to rise sharply with a new IPL broadcast deal tipped to see the event's player payment pool double.
Warner's retainer with CA is estimated to be worth USD 2 million but he could earn as much as USD 10 million in the IPL alone over the next three years.
CA says the move is aimed at minimising injuries and avoid the controversial resting of players such as Smith in Sri Lanka and Starc and Hazlewood in South Africa last year.