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A staggering 45 per cent of New Zealand's elite cricketers believe securing an Indian Premier League contract is now the pinnacle of the sport.

The survey of 86 players, conducted by the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association, should serve as a wake-up call to administrators labouring under the pretension that representing your country will always be the biggest lure.

In another question, 61 per cent of those surveyed said if they had their time again they would have tailored their careers toward the T20 format.

Heath Mills, who formulated the survey, said even he was surprised by the response. "I expected some guys, particularly the older guys, to tick those boxes but I was genuinely surprised by the numbers.'

He believed it should be the catalyst for some serious soul-searching at administrative level with the key question being: if the current players feel this way, what do the next crop of players think? And, ultimately, is it good for the sport?

In a more heartening result, 77 per cent of players believed that in 10 years time playing for New Zealand would be seen as the ultimate.

"But you'll even hear players talking about the fact that performing well at international level is so important because it is your ticket to an IPL contract,' Mills continued.

There are eight new Zealanders currently playing or coaching in the IPL
in South Africa. Jesse Ryder, who was named player of the year in the same survey, and Ross Taylor are at the Bangalore Royal Challengers. Daniel Vettori (Delhi Daredevils), Brendon McCullum (Kolkata Knight Riders), Scott Styris (Deccan Chargers), Kyle Mills (Mumbai Indians), Jacob Oram (Chennai Super Kings) and Stephen Fleming, who is player-coach at Chennai, are also involved.

If any immediate evidence was required to show this shift in priorities, it was provided last week by big allrounder Jacob Oram.

Oram, who missed a large portion of the international summer through injury, told cricket website cricinfo.com that he would be prepared to walk away from test cricket to prolong his short-form cricket life. "I could lie to you and say it's not about the money. I know that is something people do not necessarily want to hear.'