Australian batsman David Warner expressed apprehension about Test cricket's survival should the proposed 'rebel' league to be bankrolled by Indian business tycoon Subhash Chandra takes flight but added that the vast sums of money on offer could not be easily rejected by players.
There had been reports that the likes of Warner and Australia Test captain Michael Clarke were in line for contracts worth US$ 50 million over 10 years if they crossed over from the International Cricket Council's set-up.
"At the moment I'm contracted to Cricket Australia, the fact is I'm playing for Australia, it's what I do, it's what I love. But these guys are talking about big sums of money and, let's be honest, if people are saying to you that they don't play for the money then they're having a laugh, because every single person who gets offered this or gets offered that, what happens? They always take it. I think athletes in general have to be a bit more honest and say that's what's happening," Warner was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
Chandra's Essel Group, which was behind the defunct breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL), had recently confirmed plans to launch a new global Twenty20 tournament similar to Kerry Packer's creation of World Series Cricket in the 1970s. They have in recent months registered companies in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland, with names that give the appearance of being cricket boards.
Warner, though, feels that cricket's present structure may not have room to co-exist with the new venture.
"Everyone says you can't put a price on the baggy green, and you can't. But the simple thing is if the rebel league comes and takes off, I don't think there is going to be Test cricket.
"That's where people are going to be like 'who are these people, where is Cricket Australia going to go with this, how are we going to play every other Test nation when some of those nations are definitely going to go on board'," the opener said.
"I can't talk on their behalf, but if you weigh the numbers up I think what they're talking about sum-wise it's going to be hard for a lot of the minnow countries to say no, and that's the scary thing. Then it's going to be Australia versus England versus India all the time. Cricket's in a great position at the moment," he added.
Image: David Warner