Warner can’t rule out $50m rebel contract

Test opener David Warner says he would be foolish to completely rule out a big-money contract with a rebel cricket league.

A Fairfax Media report last month claimed both Warner and Australian skipper Michael Clarke are being targeted with $50 million contracts to take part in a global Twenty20 tournament similar to Kerry Packer’s creation of World Series Cricket.

The rival competition is the brainchild of billionaire media mogul Subhash Chandra, who owns Indian conglomerate Essel Group, which was behind the now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL).

International reports in recent months suggest Chandra is also trying to set up a breakaway world governing body for the sport outside the jurisdiction of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

On Monday, Warner reiterated his comments to ESPN last week that it would be dishonest to say he would never consider such attractive figures.

“I don’t like pointing things at people, but take for instance the NRL or NFL or NBA,” he told Sky Sports Radio on Monday.

“If someone puts out a couple of extra thousand dollars in the pay well those people nine times out of 10 they do take that.

“It’s about being honest. You can’t rule it out.

“You can’t say no, because at the end of the day we’re all there, we love playing the sport we do but we also love getting paid for what we do.

“So if I say `No, I wouldn’t take it’, then all of a sudden I do, it looks stupid on your part.

“So I’m just about being honest and saying it’s not out of the question.

“I would certainly have a think about it.”

Cricket Australia, which dismissed the Fairfax report as “highly speculative”, has recently offered some of its more high-profile players longer-term contracts in an apparent effort to keep raiders away.

CA chairman Wally Edwards said the reported $50 million figure over 10 years, which equates to $5 million per year, was not much higher than the current earnings of Australia’s top players – believed to be around $4 million annually.

Warner suggested those most susceptible to such lucrative offers would be countries outside the big three of Australia, England and India who don’t get paid as much.

“You have three or four teams where the average wage is going to be fantastic, and some other teams are going to be not as fortunate,” he said.

“And those sums, if you’re putting them out there, it’s a no-brainer for some of those teams.

“At the end of the day people have to survive in this world, and it’s either work and be paid for what you love doing, or work and be paid for something you don’t like doing.

“There’s options there.”

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