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 'ICL Veterans' Cricket With A Difference

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Registration date : 2007-07-03

PostSubject: 'ICL Veterans' Cricket With A Difference   Fri Aug 03, 2007 5:17 pm

The Indian Cricket League (ICL) may have caused a stir in cricket circles by signing up a host of cricketers who are well past their sell-by date for their proposed Twenty20 meet, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) remains unfazed.

BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah indulged in some straight talk when TOI approached him for a chat on the proposed league that is being touted as the next best thing after the 'Packer Circus'. Excerpts from an interview...

Is the BCCI scared of the Indian Cricket League?

Not at all. The BCCI rests on a very strong foundation that was laid 75 years ago. It has stood the test of time. As office bearers of the organisation, we have to look after the interests of the players and the game in the country. It's our responsibility to ensure that the careers of players are not jeopardised.

What is the BCCI's perception of the league?

Frankly speaking, it looks like veterans' cricket with a difference. If you look at the Twenty20 squads for the forthcoming ICC World Cup in South Africa, they comprise mostly of young cricketers. From what we have gathered, the ICL is planning to host a Twenty20 tournament with mostly veteran cricketers.

Is the BCCI worried about the competition it might face from the ICL?

Not at all. My experience with cricket administration tells me that people always want the 'real' thing. Win or lose, fans all over the world like to identify with their team. They rejoice when the national team wins and get angry when they lose. That's how it is and that's how it should be. Tests and ODIs are still the real thing. Twenty20 is the newest version of cricket, but it will take some time to grow roots in India.

The promoters of ICL are claiming that they are doing to lift the standard of the game in the country.

I fail to understand how they plan to achieve that by organising a Twenty20 tournament with players who are already through with their careers.

Are you surprised that so many former cricketers are joining the ICL?

Not at all. I suppose they are all getting good money. We have nothing against that. However, all those players who are joining ICL should expect no benefit from the BCCI as it is not recognised by us.

Is the BCCI likely to offer contracts to players and umpires at the domestic level in order to ensure that they don't stray?

Domestic players are all registered with their respective state associations and umpires are on the BCCI's panel, so it doesn't make sense to offer them new contracts. Any player of umpire who leaves the fold will automatically find his registration cancelled. We can't stop anyone from joining the ICL. The game is now played across the length and breadth of the country. The BCCI's reach is such that we will never be short of players or umpires.

Has the BCCI discussed the ICL issue with the ICC?

The ICC has made it clear that it is BCCI's internal issue and will back us on whatever decision we take.

Will the BCCI allow the ICL to use some of the infrastructure for conducting its matches?

We have clearly stated that the BCCI does not recognise any unauthorised tournament. Isn't that a clear enough indication?

Why is the BCCI taking so long to decide on whether to remove Kapil Dev from the NCA chairman's post after he joined the ICL?

The BCCI is a democratic body where no one is authorised to take unilateral decision. We have called two Special General Meetings on August 21. The picture will be clear after that.
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