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August 21, 2002 | 1445 IST

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Ponting hopes boycott can be averted

Australia's one-day captain Ricky Ponting hopes a potential player boycott of next month's ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka can be averted.

Players from all the leading Test nations, including Australia, have yet to sign International Cricket Council contracts ahead of the tournament because of a clause preventing them from endorsing products other than those of the official sponsors.

"It (the dispute) is a concern and obviously something that's been spoken about for the last few weeks," Ponting told reporters in Brisbane on Wednesday. "It hasn't really progressed too far.

"I don't think any of the (Australian) players want a boycott, that's not what we are all about.

"We all want to play cricket for our country and win these tournaments around the world, that's why we play the game.

"Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope it doesn't get to that."

The tournament is due to take place in Sri Lanka starting on September 12 and the dispute could also threaten the ICC's flagship World Cup tournament in South Africa next year.

The ICC contract, drawn up for both the Champions Trophy and the World Cup, contains a clause preventing players from endorsing products other than those from official ICC sponsors.

Leading Indian players, including captain Saurav Ganguly and top batsman Sachin Tendulkar, have massive personal sponsorship deals.

India's cricket board, the BCCI, have stood firm in the row with its top players and said on Tuesday they were prepared to send a second-string squad to Sri Lanka.

"It's not only the Australian players who aren't signing these contracts it's all around the world and the Australian players aren't directly affected by it for this tournament," Ponting said.

"Hopefully it can be resolved quite quickly and the (Champions Trophy) tournament goes ahead."

Australia went into camp in Brisbane on Wednesday ahead of their departure next week for Kenya and a triangular limited overs series against the host nation and Pakistan.

Complete coverage of the controversy

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