New Delhi:Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Lalit Modi has said that Australian players can sign their contracts by Sunday or stay out of the tournament for three years.
Modi told the Sydney Morning Herald that the likes of Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden must act quickly before the time window closes.
"They are running out of time," Modi told the Herald. "I am not the type that won't follow through with what I say. If the contracts are not signed and returned by Sunday the Australian players will not be allowed to take part in the IPL for three years. We are taking a list to owners on Monday.
"Each franchise has a $5 million cap for their team, and the contracts are for three years, so when they bid for players at the auction they will use up all of their cap - there will be no money to buy other players later. We will gladly take the Australian players without NOCs, we don't want to go down that path but if we have to, we will."
Australian board threatened with player retirement
Neil Maxwell, who represents Australian cricketers, said the cash-rich tournament was reason enough for some of the players to retire from Australia duty, if Cricket Australia did not relent.
The Australian board has had issues with global sponsorship for their players. They want to honour their current commitments by bringing them to the IPL, which the tournament organisers are virulently opposed to.
Maxwell told the Daily Telegraph, "The cricket world is going to have to respond to the IPL given the magnitude of it."
"I know (players union boss) Paul Marsh made the logical suggestion that ultimately there needs to be a six-week window carved out of the playing itinerary, the Future Tours Program.
"Otherwise players will be leaving. Players will be retiring. Unfortunately at the moment we have a conflict. If that is taken out, there won't be conflict."
Gilchrist says IPL good for cricket
Gilchrist will retire from international cricket at the end of the CB Series, while Hayden, who is 37, is nearing the end of his career.
For players like them, the cash incentives at IPL are lucrative and they would not mind retiring from their national teams to come to India for this tournament.
Gilchrist told the Sydney Morning Herald, "I understand the fear of that happening, (but) I just really believe what motivates players to take on the journey, you have got to take and endure and enjoy to play for your country, it comes from more than just the financial side of it."
"We see players at my age, there is going to be a natural transition from international cricket. Probably when the real professional era has kicked in there has been a bit of a tendency for guys to hang on too long, and we don't see younger guys getting in as young as we used to.
"It might be the evening out process that there is something for the older guys to move into," he said.