Perth:Former Australian opener Justin Langer has turned his back on the inaugural Twenty20 Indian Premier League, opting to honour a prior commitment to English county side Somerset.
Langer fetched $218,000 from the Jaipur franchise in Wednesday's player auction, but The West Australian newspaper said on Saturday that he declined the offer.
In rejecting Jaipur's offer, Langer said he feared for the direction of world cricket, concerned that the riches of the IPL would change the priorities of some players.
"Before the auction, I don't know if many people anticipated what an issue these massive player payments would become," Langer said, echoing the fears of Australian captain Ricky Ponting.
"But when you see how much money is being paid out, I think we have to be very careful to protect the integrity of the game.
"A few days ago, playing for Australia would have been the main goal for just about every young player in the country.
"Now that might not be the case."
Langer warned other players not to put quick cash ahead of personal achievement.
"When you go to your grave, people will remember what you did with your life rather than how much money you made," he said.
Langer's comments came as pressure mounted on the International Cricket Council to create a gap in the international scheduling for the annual IPL tournament, which is generating plenty of controversy in Australia.
Some of Australia's premier batsmen have appeared somewhat distracted during the current one-day tri-series, over which the ongoing IPL machinations have cast a huge shadow.
Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds have all been struggling for touch, with soon to be retired wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist admitting that off-field issues, including the IPL, are taking their toll.
Australian hopeful David Hussey, the younger brother of Test star Mike Hussey, was snapped up for $740,000 by IPL side Calcutta on Wednesday, just hours after blazing a one-day hundred for Victoria.
But he admitted to the Herald Sun that he was distracted by the IPL talk before he went out to bat.
"I was pretty distracted and then Shippy (coach Greg Shipperd) pulled me aside and said 'Hey, it's a big game, this, get focused and get some runs. National selection could await, so get your mind on the job'," he said.