Australians relaxed over rebel rumours

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Cricket Australia has responded to reports of a new rebel cricket league describing them as “highly speculative”.

The Essel Group, which is owned by billionaire Indian media mogul Subhash Chandra, this week confirmed its ambitions to launch an unnamed cricket venture, and has made the first step by registering company names in Australia.

Australian media company Fairfax reported that current captain Michael Clarke and batsman David Warner would be offered 10-year $50m deals.

“We are aware of the reports around a rebel league and they remain highly speculative, particularly given the proposed scale and complexity,” Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards said in a statement.

“Australian cricket has never been in better health. Record crowds, television audiences, grass-roots participation and commercial support continue to drive record revenues which means player payments have never been higher and will only increase.

“As it stands, Australia’s cricketers are the highest-paid athletes of any team sport in the country.

“But our pay structure is broader than that. It’s about supporting professional cricket at both international and domestic level. The success of international cricket directly subsidises the wages of state cricketers. Any proposed rebel league would jeopardise that.

“Most of Australian cricket’s revenue is reinvested back into the sport, strengthening it for the 1.1 million players at grass-roots level.”

The Essel group was behind the now defunct Indian Cricket League and owns the broadcaster Zee TV and its subsidiary Ten Sports.