Posts Tagged ‘indian cricket league’

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 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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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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Whilst the official Bangladesh side was getting in a bit of practice on the Bloemfontein pitch where they have just suffered an innings defeat, the unofficial ICL version took on a World XI in the ICL World Series.

Admittedly, this was the sort of World XI that includes Paul Nixon and Chris Harris, rather than the sort that includes Lara, Tendulkar and Muralitharan, but it’s still worth a mention. Much as the Lahore Badshahs captured the imagination of Pakistani cricket fans when the PCB side wasn’t playing much, a competitive Bangladeshi ICL side could prove a serious rival to the official side for the affections of the average cricket fan in Dhaka.

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It seems that the two Pakistans may be on a collision course – Inzamam ul Haq, of the Lahore Badshahs, has challenged his former teammates to a match. Whilst this sort of thing is guaranteed to make headlines and get people excited, I can’t really see the PCB agreeing to such a match, given their hostility to the ICL.

Nevertheless, it is an interesting idea, and there’s certainly an appetite for a confrontation between the two sides amongst Pakistani fans. If nothing else, the TV companies will be salivating.

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Whilst Pakistan’s official team have been in action against the West Indies, the unofficial Pakistan side that is the Lahore Badshahs have been busy winning the ICL.

Whilst the competition remains unsactioned, the presence of players such as Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq means that for many Pakistani cricket fans, the decisive game in the ICL Final series will have been more compelling than the official side’s dead rubber against the Windies over in Abu Dhabi.

Whether or not such things will ever be admitted by those in charge of the game is uncertain, but whilst there is an audience for it out there, the ICL shows no sign of disappearing, much to the chagrin of a number of national boards.

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Mohammad Yousuf has become the latest high-profile player to be banned from international cricket due to playing in the ‘rebelIndian Cricket League.

Quite possibly, Yousuf has been harbouring a grudge against the official not being picked in the first IPL auction. Or maybe he’s suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder, and one of his personalities wants to play in the ICL, whilst the other wants to play for Pakistan.

What is certain is that Pakistan will miss him, as will the fans.

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