Despite Cricket Australia's (CA) efforts to persuade several international stars to leave the riches of the Indian Premier League (IPL) from next year, former skipper Michael Clarke put his weight behind the T20 tournament, saying Australian cricketers will keep playing in the cash-rich league.
The CA has offered three-year contracts to five Australian players -- Steven Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood -- in an effort to persuade them not to play in the IPL from next year.
"They love it over here, I don't know one Australian cricketer that has not had a good time when they have come and played the IPL. So I don't think we need to keep talking about that.
"I am really confident you will continue to see Australian cricketers being a part of the IPL. I am certainly coming back," Clarke, who is working as a commentator during IPL 10, said on the sidelines of a function to announce the collaboration of his academy with a city-based counterpart here on Saturday.
"The game of cricket is bigger than any individual. It has always been that and it always will be," Clarke replied when asked what will happen to the IPL if hypothetically Australians are not part of it in the future.
"If Sir Donald Bradman can retire and the game goes on, it doesn't matter who comes in and goes out.
"Cricket is the greatest game in the world. And cricket will always be successful. David Warners will be coming to the IPL, Steve Smiths will be coming to IPL," he added.
According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, Cricket Australia approached Test captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and fast bowlers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins with three-year contracts.
The new proposal has not been met with a positive response from the players. According to the same report, the players are not ready for the new contract and said that it would need an even higher amount to make the players shun IPL.
Clarke though refused to directly comment on the standoff and also the fact that Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association are at loggerheads.
"Look I don't think it's fair for me to comment on this as I don't know enough about it.
"I haven't had that conversation with Cricket Australia or individual players. I can guarantee you through my career I was given every opportunity to come and play in the IPL. Unfortunately in my career, there were a lot of injuries which restricted me to play in the IPL. I played one year with Pune Warriors as it was known back then and enjoyed very much. I am here commentating now."
Talking about his academy which will take 30 budding cricketers from here to the Michael Clarke Cricket Academy, the World Cup winning captain said he will try and teach the children about the three formats of the game.
"I think the IPL is a wonderful tournament. It's been great for the game of cricket. And I think that's an important part of what we are trying to do here. We are trying to teach young boys and girls that there are three forms of cricket. There is room for three formats.
"I want all these young boys and girls to come to my academy and have a dream and an ambition to want to play for their country. I also to want them to play in big major tournaments like the IPL."