Former Test fast bowler Jason Gillespie has accused Cricket Australia of deserting some of the country's finest players in favour of the wishes of Indian officials. Gillespie condemned a decision to keep him out of Australian domestic cricket as "a joke" and said Cricket Australia was kowtowing to the powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India.
The South Australian paceman – banned from first-class cricket in Australia after signing a three-year deal with the non-ICC sanctioned Indian Cricket League – also criticised Indian cricket chief Lalit Modi.
He said he believed Cricket Australia would not stand up to Modi and the BCCI.
"Unfortunately, they'll side with (India's) board rather than support players like `Kasper' (Michael Kasprowicz) and myself who've played for our country for many years," Gillespie said of Cricket Australia's treatment of former Test stars now playing in the ICL.
"They're far too worried about the ramifications of not being nice to the BCCI ... it's a joke.
"They've basically said to us: `No, we don't want you.'
"Cricket Australia are ... concerned about massaging their relationship with the BBCI."
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Mail, Gillespie:
EXPRESSED a desire to return to cricket with the SA Redbacks.
DECLARED Test cricket was on its last legs outside of Australia and England.
Gillespie, who played 71 Tests, returned to Australia from ICL commitments last week, leaving India just hours after the horror of the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
His experience on the subcontinent has left him with the belief that for much of the cricket-playing world, Test cricket is doomed.
"Test cricket is in trouble, there's no doubt about that," he said.
"I can see a time where countries will be bypassing Test cricket altogether.
"With more Twenty20 Leagues, it will go the way where representing your country will take a back seat. For Australian and English players it will always be the pinnacle, but I'm not sure it's the pinnacle for any other countries.
"All other countries don't see Test cricket as the be-all and end-all any more."
Gillespie spent the winter playing for Glamorgan in the English County Competition before joining his ICL team, the Ahmedabad Rockets.
During that time, the 259-Test scalp veteran worked feverishly with both teams' younger bowlers and developed an interest in coaching.
But even assisting Australia's next generation of tearaways may be forced off Gillespie's agenda.
"I was talking to (Australian head bowling coach) Troy Cooley before and he's keen to get me into the Centre of Excellence but I'm hoping these ridiculous rules of Cricket Australia don't extend to coaching because I think that would be quite sad."
Despite the Mumbai attacks, Gillespie remains intent on returning to India for the ICL's next series in March.
There's a large dollop of self-serving here but he does make some good points. In Adelaide we have just seen a so-called Test match between Australia and a New Zealand team which was weakened by the banning of several players, notably Shane Bond, because of their involvement in the ICL.
Update 15 December
The Weekend Australian revisited the issue.
Gillespie, who signed with the ICL last season and promptly retired from the SA Redbacks to avoid Cricket Australia sanction, is distressed by the treatment of India's banned ICL players.
The 71-Test paceman tells of how his Ahmedabad Rockets team-mate, former India international Reetinder Sodhi, was treated when he fronted up to watch a recent club game.
Security was called and Sodhi was frog-marched out of the ground. "He can't even go and watch a match," an incredulous Gillespie, 33, said this week. "He got escorted away from a club match because he's ICL.
"They can't play anywhere. The only place they can play cricket is in the street or in their own backyard. They just can't play anywhere."
Then there's the case of batsman Bhima Rao, 21, who dominated one ICL Twenty20 game with multiple run-outs and catches from his station at point.
"He's one of the best fielders I've seen, in any cricket," Gillespie said.
As an ICL player, the promising Rao is ineligible to play for India, so fans of establishment cricket are starved of his athletic displays in the covers.
"I just find it incredibly disappointing that a lot of these kids will never get the opportunity to play for their country.
"It's ended their first-class careers.
"They're massively disappointed. These kids, their goal is, like any other kid, they want to play for India.
"They're just so willing to learn and they hang on your every word.
"Some of these players are good enough to play for India."
Gillespie believes Indian cricket's governing body, the BCCI, would not enforce the ICL ban so stringently if Indian cricket was not blessed with a depth envied by every other cricketing nation.
The cold divide gripping Indian cricket has yet to take hold in Australia - but it has touched the game here.
Cricket Australia banned Gillespie's Ahmedabad team-mates Ryan Campbell and Murray Goodwin from playing in the annual Lilac Hill picnic match in WA last month.
"That is ridiculous. That is just silly. On what basis?
"I think Cricket Australia, they value the relationship with the BCCI far too much."