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Posts Tagged ‘icl’

This ICL versus IPL business, which should by now have surely been laid to rest, rumbles on. Should the Northamptonshire Steelbacks beat Sussex in their Twenty20 Cup semi-final on Saturday, they would normally have been expected to fill one of England’s spots in the Twenty20 Champions League (or the Champions League T20, or the Champions Twenty20 League, or whatever), but the inclusion in their squad of Nicky Boje, Andrew Hall and Johan van der Wath means that Lalit Modi won’t let them play.

Boje, Hall and van der Wath are all ‘tainted’ by their association with the ICL, which is viewed by the BCCI as ‘unauthorised cricket’. “Champions League rules are very clear that no team with players connected to any unauthorised cricket can be a part of it,” said Modi, possibly whilst stroking a cat and plotting world domination.

‘Unauthorised cricket’ makes it sound a bit like the trio had been skipping school to hone their forward defensives, or carelessly practising their in-swingers in an area containing a ‘No Ball Games‘ sign.

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The boycott by the West Indies Players’ Association has meant that the West Indies’ side for the First Test against Bangladesh has a distinctly unfamiliar look to it. Floyd Reifer (who has played four Tests, the last of them more than a decade ago) comes in as captain of a side that features such relative unknowns as Kraigg Brathwaite, Chadwick Walton and “Combined Colleges and Campuses’ Ryan Austin“.

Whether or not this means Bangladesh win finally win a Test against a team that isn’t Zimbabwe remains to be seen. The Windies do have the experience of Tino Best (returned from ICL exile) and Darren Sammy in the side, and the rain seems to be holding things up at the moment.

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After all that Pakistani cricket fans have been through recently, there is no set of supporters that deserves something to celebrate as much as they do. With that in mind, congratulations to the side which has just won the World Twenty20 finalShahid Afridi shone again with the bat after Abdul Razzaq had taken 3-20 (continuing the strong impact that he’s had since returning from the ICL) as Sri Lanka fought their way back from 70-6 to set Pakistan 139 to win.

Uncharacteristically, the eventual victors didn’t even put their fans through any last-minute anguish with a collapse, or stumble across the line. At times, there was even a worrying outbreak of sensible batting from Afridi, but luckily he shook that off with a couple of massive sixes to get the party started.

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Shane Bond looks set to return to Test cricket, and he won’t even need to wear a comedy disguise. Having cut all ties with the ICL, the Kiwi pace bowler has made himself available for selection by New Zealand.

The news has been welcomed by captain Daniel Vettori, given the injury problems that frustrated his side during their World Twenty20 campaign. Bond, however, says that he doesn’t expect to be recalled for the Black Caps’ upcoming tour of Sri Lanka.

With the ICL seemingly now a dead end, a number of ‘rebel’ players are making the transition back to mainstream cricket, with Bond arguably the player who was most missed by his international side during his exile.

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The Indian Cricket League, currently in limbo following the cancellation of its World Series in the wake of last year’s attacks in Mumbai, and apparently running seriously short of cash, has offered its Kiwi players the option of being released from their contracts.

Some of the New Zealanders involved, notably Shane Bond and Darryl Tuffey, have sacrified their international careers by getting involved with the ‘rebel’ ICL, and if they were to cut their ties with the competition, it could raise the possibility of them playing again for the Black Caps. Whilst Bond has talked down this possibility in the past, Tuffey is reportedly keen to represent his country once again.

Perhaps of greater interest for those outside of New Zealand are the implications of this news on the expected future of the ICL itself. With subcontinental cricket involving non-subcontinental players seemingly becoming an ever rarer sight for ‘security reasons’, and the global economy looking shakier than it has been in decades, can the world support two Indian Twenty20 leagues?

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Since being ravaged by the ICL, Bangladesh have actually been improving (with one or two regressions to the mean), mainly thanks to Shakib Al Hasan. The all-rounder’s run of recent good performances continued in today’s Tri-Series match against Sri Lanka, as he to propel the Tigers into Friday’s final, also against the Sri Lankans.

If Bangladesh are to become a serious One-Day side, then they will need Shakib to put in performances like this on a regular basis. The erstwhile kittens will also be hoping that bowling performances like today’s (youtube here) come along with more regularity). If the top ordr could get their act together, they might give a lot of the more established sides a few more scares.

As for Sri Lanka, the task of winning the series, previously considered by most observers as relatively simple, now seems a great deal more troublesome.

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In this season of goodwill to all, the ICC seem to have extended an olive branch to the rebel Indian Cricket League by holding talks with Subhash Chandra, the ICL’s owner.

Meetings like this have been held before, of course, but notable this time was the presence of former BCCI president and current ICC vice-president Sharad Pawar. This may be an indication of a softening in stance from the previously hard-line BCCI.
I think most cricket fans would like to see this issue resolved now, and I hope that meetings such as this will help bring about an end to the international exile and leper-like status imposed on the likes of Mohammad Yousuf and Shane Bond.

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