Three former New Zealand international cricketers are upset after they were barred from featuring in a Bollywood film because they have signed with the rebel Indian Cricket League.
Nathan Astle, Daryl Tuffey and Craig McMillan were to have supporting roles in the film Victory but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has wielded its significant influence to have the trio cut from the cast, effectively costing them a combined A$40,000 ($46,000NZ) in side earnings, Melbourne newspaper The Age reported today.
The film has needed the backing of the BCCI.
The ICL is running in direct competition with the International Cricket Council's own Twenty20 tournament, the Indian Premier League, which is a brainchild of the BCCI.
The newspaper said it was understood each of the NZ players stood to make up to A$13,000 for one and a half days filming.
Astle blasted the BCCI for interfering with his off-field income. "To me it's a bit farcical, really; they're just being silly. It is out-and-out wrong," he said.
"The thing is it's starting to affect our earnings off the field. The big issue is that I don't think anyone, no matter how significant their standing in the game, should have a pull over our capacity to earn off the field."
Australian test star Brett Lee has a speaking role, while Stuart Clark, Michael Hussey and Shaun Tait will also make cameo appearances in the movie, described as cricket's version of Bend It Like Beckham.
"We had been in discussions (with the producers), that started four or five months ago," Astle said.
"They have had the hard word put on them by the BCCI to stop us from playing. I understand if they want to take that stance on the cricket field but this goes beyond that, and I think it's quite ridiculous, actually. I mean, this has nothing to do with playing - it's a movie about cricket. I was just supposed to rock up and bowl a few deliveries."