$1m a week: IPL eyes insane pay rise
CRICKET is about to explode into a new era where players could be paid a million dollars a week to play cricket in India.
And Australia's leading women's stars could share in the booty.
Pat Cummins took home $3.17 million - a record for international players - from this year's IPL auction, but speculation is mounting that this already eye-watering amount may only be the tip of the iceberg.
There is a feeling that next year's instalment of the world's most lucrative Twenty20 tournament could snowball into a "super auction" where top players could command as much as between $5-7 million for a tournament that is all done and dusted inside seven weeks.
The IPL has always been a big-money bonanza for international stars, but if freelance figures reach the estimates being floated, it would add another intimidating dimension to Australian cricket, whose big names would be paid more treble their yearly wages by India for seven weeks' work.
Cummins, David Warner, Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc would head the list of Australians in contention for a million dollars a week should the IPL billionaires club of owners loosen the purse strings even more.
In American sports such as the NBA there are athletes on $40 million a year, but in terms of cash per length of season, the IPL's projected salaries are astonishing by any measure.
There are also unconfirmed reports that India may be closer than it has let on to unveiling a breakthrough women's IPL tournament.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said last month that a proper eight team women's league was still at least "four years away", but there is hope a WIPL could be fast-tracked to as early as next year.
Australia has so far led the women's cricket revolution, but there would be no bigger game changer for the global women's game than India throwing its substantial weight behind it.
Female stars Ellyse Perry, Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy would be prime targets for franchises should a women's IPL expand.
Unlike the WBBL, which now has its own season, it's understood the women's IPL proposal would centre around it running as a curtain raiser concurrent with the men's tournament - exposing women's players to big crowds and bigger pay cheques.
Australia's female stars were snubbed from India last year, but so far the BCCI has only been prepared to hold one off women's IPL exhibition games and is yet to take the plunge on a proper league.
Ganguly is a fan of the concept but has questioned whether there is currently enough depth in the women's game.
"You need a lot more women players. I see that in four years' time, to get a seven-team IPL with the best women players (in participation)," he said recently.
Cricket Australia high-performance boss Ben Oliver is understood to be considering the logic behind offering multi-year contracts to some marquee players - most logically fast bowlers who can have their workloads jeopardised by going to the IPL.
However, in a broader sense, CA is more supportive of its players heading to India than they have in previous years, because they recognise that it is one of the best learning grounds in world cricket.
BIGGEST EVER IPL DEALS
VIRAT KOHLI $3.4 million
YUVRAJ SINGH $3.2 million
PAT CUMMINS $3.17 million
MS DHONI $3.01 million
ROHIT SHARMA $3.01 million
BEN STOKES $3 million
DAVID WARNER $2.5 million
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