Politics August 27, 2007

ICL: A welcome corporate headache

Players have the right to play in the league they find most attractive without ruling themselves out of international selection
68

Is a monopoly a good thing? In our world dominated by free market economics the world of cricket manages to enjoy the fruits of commerce while imposing its monopolies. The only official events are those sanctioned by the ICC where only official sponsors are allowed to market their wares and competitors are pursued with the zeal of a witch hunt. The national cricket boards enjoy their own monopolies, forcing players to promote the official sponsors and participate in sanctioned events. Clearly there has to be some control of any sport but has cricket become too restrictive?

The Indian Cricket League offers the first real challenge to the official cricket structure since Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket. Compared with Packer's intergalactic venture, the ICL has begun with a minor constellation of international stars most of whom are Pakistani. WSC was fiercely resisted too but it helped international cricket develop quickly and improved the pay of top cricketers.

ICL will require more big stars if it is to have the same impact, and this is where the Indian and Pakistani cricket boards are applying thumbscrews. Players are being bullied to stick to official tournaments and events because the boards fear that a rival Asian league will undermine their power and reduce their revenues.

Players should be entitled to play in whatever league they wish, be it their official domestic cricket, county cricket, or the upstart ICL. Instead we have threats of bans and penalties.

This talk of bans is posturing. When Pakistan's cricket board realised it needed its Packer rebels they were brought back with desperate haste. The same self-serving approach will surely apply to reinstating Mohammad Yousuf for Test cricket and possibly even Inzamam and Abdul Razzaq, depending on results?

In the meantime, players have the right to play in the league they find most attractive without ruling themselves out of international selection. The response of the boards is one of fear, and if they were providing players and fans with a premier service the ICL would not be a threat. Their monopolistic positions have made the Asian cricket boards lazy and complacent. That's why I'm grateful that the ICL is causing a corporate headache. I don't see how it's bothering anybody else?

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • WASIM SAQIB on September 5, 2007, 2:24 GMT

    Javed A Khan:

    I dont know what has led you to believe that ICL is going to release its players whenever they are called for National assignments,this has been the key bone of contention all along between ICl and the rival boards, and why would ICL shell millions to a player and release him for a busy season with his home country,this problem has been highlighted by several journalists in the media perhaps you missed those articles. Please remember I don't have any ego problem I only write what I believe.

  • Muhammad Asif on September 4, 2007, 15:40 GMT

    We should not be bothered whether cricket is played under one umbrella (ICC) or multiple umbrellas (ICC, ICL,...). The only thing that matters is quality of cricket, if ICL fails to provide quality cricket it will disappear from the scene as it wasn't there. I would again reitrate my words that its market-oriented world, if ICC fails to provide what people want to see, someone else (like ICL) would appear on the scene to grab the attantion of the people. What I think is that its good for cricket to be played under different umbrellas intead of one umbrella. Multiple umbrellas are good for the game, players & spectators. The only thing that I would like to see is the revival of criket in red & white in limited overs form of cricket. I hope in near future some new umbrella will offer this as well.

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on September 3, 2007, 11:18 GMT

    Javed Bhai,

    The Asian bloc is a significant revenue generating mechanism for the ICC. You mentioned about The Ashes creating interest amongst fans and still surviving in the face of the more dynamic and exciting ODI’s. When Pakistan, India or Sri Lanka play Tests in the subcontinent, only a handful spectators come to watch the matches. The Ashes is a traditional event that is unique in the eyes of Britons and the Aussies. You cannot compare The Ashes with other Test series. The fact is that for most Pakistanis, Indians, Sri Lankans, West Indians etc Test matches are not appealing prospects anymore. It is only diehard cricket fans like me who want to keep alive the true spirit of cricket. What is the true spirit of cricket? It is the concept that it is a game played with skill and patience where there are equal opportunities for batsmen and bowlers to score against the other. ODI’s in my opinion are already too heavily centred around the batsmen, especially with the advent of rules such as Powerplay.

    Why do you think Twenty20 is being introduced as an international competition? It is a litmus test for the ICC to organise the future of Twenty20. Tests are generating less revenue for cricket boards and organisers and hence, Twenty20 is being introduced to flourish the revenue stream. Muhammad AsAf, blogger on Pakspin, had stated that certain “intellectuals” are not aware of the popularity of 20-over contests at grass roots level. I am well aware of 20 over games, even 15 over games and 10 over games. You can examine a procedure or mechanism and tweak it around to create a more exciting product. But the fact remains that Twenty20, being played at official level on the international platform, is a curse to the true spirit of cricket.

    What about the ramifications of Twenty20 as regards Pakistani cricket? Look at the majority of our players- their background, their behaviour. In the ultra-competitive nature of international cricket today, do you think they will be able to mentally adapt between Tests, ODI’s and Twenty20? There are players like Malik, Butt, Imran Nazir, Misbah, Arafat etc. who with or without merit, for the moment, are long term prospects as far as ODI’s and Twenty20 is concerned at least. You seem to assume that the different forms of international cricket will feature different players. Yes, there are certain players like Yasir Arafat who at present seem only to suit Twenty20, but then there are also players like Butt, Nazir, Misbah who are likely to be selected for all forms of cricket.

    I agree Test cricket will not die in the near future. But the revenue generating prowess of Twenty20 means that at some point in the future, Test cricket will indeed disappear. I know that Twenty20 is what the masses want because they can see sixes being hit every other ball. But is that what cricket is meant to be? I can compare this situation with how the masses in Pakistan want Indian films to be shown on cinemas as soon as they are released. But that is something which is not in Pakistan’s best long-term interests for various reasons, so it is not to be encouraged.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on September 2, 2007, 15:44 GMT

    Wasim Saqib

    Its a fact which we all know that, the ICL has very clearly announced that the players would be relieved for national duties when called for. So, where did you get this news that the ICL will not relieve the players? By defending your earlier statement that, a ban is a must for those who joined the league appears that you do not wish to be flexible or change your views, but thats your choice and your prerogative.

    The difference between the Kerry Packer team and the ICL is, the former bought all the top players from all the important test playing nations, crème de la crème of that era, and not just the retirees or national team discards. So, there is no comparison between the two. Even though the news of Damien Martyn, Andrew Hall or any such player joining the league will not make much difference 'coz it will still not create a long term sustainable interest among the fans, viewers, spectators. UNLESS, more and more parallel organizations emerge in every country to create a real dynamic competition in cricket, just like we see in the European soccer league or South American soccer leagues, where we see so many private clubs who buy-out these players and play for European Cup or S.A. Cup. If that happens it will give a real shocker to the ICC, BCCI and the PCB and likes.

    However, if the ICC really wants to promote the game of cricket they should not worry about losing their monopoly, 'coz this is bound to happen sooner or later. They (ICC) should be coordinating with these leagues just like FIFA does with these clubs and with the IOC. The rumour that twenty20 cricket would be introduced into the Olympic Games, if it is true, would be a very good thing for the promotion of cricket in other countries and it will revolutionize the game. Most people say that twenty20 is ruining the game of cricket, I think that is old traditional way of thinking. Twenty20 is a different version of the game, designed for a wider audience and it is a fact that it is a revenue generating machine. When the ODI cricket was introduced similar sentiments were aired that it will kill the test matches and ruin the game of cricket. But, that didn't happen.

    As long as there is good competition among the test playing nations like it happens during the Ashes series, test cricket will not die, neither the 50 overs format. And, twenty20 cricket is definitely a new era in the history of cricket. It will only add another dimension to the game. There will definitely be different set of players for each format of the game in every country specialized in each form of game. So, we need to accept the change and live with it.

  • WASIM SAQIB on August 31, 2007, 16:52 GMT

    OMAR ADMANI:

    If somebody breaks the rules of employment then the organization where he is employed at has every right not to hire them in future. ICL is a rival business and if some players while in contract with PCB and reaping all the benefits try to join ICL and get extra money at the risk that they will not be relieved for their national assignment, I think is completely wrong and such players should be banned. yes if the ICL agrees to relieve the players when they are called up for their national assignments then I think the respective boards should allow them to play in ICL .I also don’t agree with you that ICL will have some higher standards and the players will be able to improve their abilities by joining it if you look at the Indian players who have joined ICL are completely unknown even for their domestic audience. ICL is not even close to what Packer series was in terms of facilities and the Players it recruited.

    Javed A Khan: Its true that the boards let the players join county cricket and domestic corporations and the players get paid by both organizations but there is one key difference that county cricket and the domestic organizations are obligated to relieve the players for their National assignments whereas ICL is not willing to do that at least that's what the major concern is so far also the players have to take permission from the board before they join any county cricket. I have no problem if the players make extra money but somehow I believe that money should not be the only consideration when a player decides whether he has to play for his country or ICL. I also strongly believe that the Pakistani players who joined the ICL, joined it as a protest for not getting selected given that scenario should we assume from now onwards all the players who are not selected are free to join ICL. I agree with you on one main issue that PCB should increase the salaries of the players under its contract so that in future no rogue league could tempt them.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on August 30, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    As opposed to this blog which at times moves at snail's speed, there is so much very fast happening these days in the cricketing world especially in Pakistan and surprises most people with unexpected results. The general rule of Pakistan politics and cricket is, everything which is legal, illegal, possible, impossible, expected, unexpected, true, lies, moral, immoral, right and wrong must float in the same sea of chaos and they may choose or pickup whichever and whatever suits them according to the situation.

    Just when I have said earlier that the PCB are not going to change their stance in removing the bans imposed on a few retired and about to retire players, they surprised me by announcing that the PCB will offer Mohammad Yousuf with greater financial rewards and pursue him to come back? And, that is because his loss to the team is bigger than the rest of the rebels who joined the ICL. This was kinda expected that they might do something unexpected but, this is not the right way to tackle this problem. If it was a policy matter to ban them, then the rules must be applicable on all the players and not just Mohammad Yousuf. But, what is right and what is wrong doesn't matter to the egoistic and opportunist administrators of the PCB.

    This decision if taken has two major flaws and the PCB is confirming that: One, they were calling these players as opportunist and materialistic, but they aren't any different now by luring Mohammad Yousuf with more financial rewards and pursuing him to come back, as he is important and worthy for the team and not bothering about the rest who joined because they are not so important and worthy. Two, the PCB is least bothered about the feelings of those players who declined the ICL offer just to remain patriotic and proud to play for the country. Wouldn't there be some kinda friction between them and Yousuf when he comes back with a better pay package or bonus whatever? So, there isn't just a corporate jungle but a bureaucratic jungle too.

    The players who have attended the camp and about to leave for Kenya and SA, will they be expecting Mohammad Yousuf to join them later? Then, at whose expense? What if Yousuf doesn't perform well in the first few matches and if he is not included by the skipper and the coach in the next matches, then what will be Yousuf's reaction? Mohammad Yousuf has not signed the central contract which expires by the end of this year. So, will he be guaranteed a place in the team for the next contract? All these and many more questions remains to be answered.

  • Anil Rao on August 30, 2007, 7:15 GMT

    I agree with the author.

    I want more cricket than just BCCI’s team playing and minting money without any accountability. ICL is a good idea to fill this gap and i hope it will become like county cricket or NBA. ICL will have six city teams this season with a mix of local and foreign players! these are quick 20-20 games and fun to watch.

    Have anyone heard of ESPN-STAR sports Indian hockey leauge,it was going on for 3-4 years now(I am not sure it still exists or not), with Pakistani and other foreign players playing for different city teams .ICL will be more big and popular affair.

    I am sure once ICL starts playing cricket more and more Indian, Pak, SL and foreign players will join .Let BCCI compete with ICL and start a new league. Competition is good for the game, fans and in all this madness we will get some good talent coming out...off course rich talents. Like Kapil dev said let the players perform well and make a lot of money!! who has problem with that!!

  • Omer Admani on August 30, 2007, 0:55 GMT

    Wasim Saqib, But no corporation could make it a law that a certain person can't work for them in future because he worked for X,Y, or Z corporation. That treads along discrimination. I think it is perfectly reasonable that players have the choice now. If ICL works, the potential repercussions could be over local players-- as the case might be in future-- playing for ICL and gaining invaluable experience. It could also lead us, spectators, to make invaluable judgements as to who is worth playing in our cricket team. It could also mean a playing atmosphere where PCB starts paying a bit more and our structure of cricket as a whole gets more professional. Almost all of us agree thatAshraf messed Pakistan cricket up-- ranked 2 and 3 in tests and ODI before his arrival-- and this means that the doctor has to get his act together as well. Maybe he should do all of us a favor and simply go back to America.

    And it is good publicity for cricket after all.

  • Sami Syed from TORONTO on August 29, 2007, 19:52 GMT

    Eamiran, Syed Durrani, J. Khan, AA Khan,

    Although this is a discussion board and not really the place for personal attacks, what you all fail to realize is that all of you have brought up some important points through your posts. (Jokes aside...)

    Firstly, AA Khan brings up a good point about REGIONALISM... which definitely exists. There is no denying it. Punjabis will say no there is no such thing and Karachites will say that they have not only suffered in Cricket but in all aspects whether its political, financial, societal, development and CRICKET. The second point you bring up about Asim Kamal is one of reckoning as well. I do agree because I have seen Asim Kamal play in pressure situations and he has consistently and calmly scored. He has excellent technique and more over has an advantage since I recall that he is a Left Hander. I would even include Yasir Hameed in the list who hasn't been included either. I would even go as far to say that if Inzamam doesn not come back to test then a likely replacement should be Kamal and if Yousuf doesn't come back then Yasir Hameed should be groomed as his replacement. You'll notice that Yousuf's stylish and graceful style can be seen in Hameeds batting. Furthermore, these two players shouldn't be picked and dropped like cherries rather should be groomed and persisted with. And then the Pakistani team can reap the dividends.

    And AA Khan your suggestion about Selective BANS really does contradict your stance on other issues. What you are suggesting there is that the bad players should be Banned but the good ones should not be. That's like the Rich keeping the rich richer and the poor poorer... I think you have mis-implied perhaps what you meant.

    Eamiran - One cannot be too quick to judge, how can you really say Asim Kamal won't be good if has not been given the chance. Secondly, I agree with you that Inzamam is one of the greats in cricket.

    Syed Durrani - you really need to find better time and be a little more constructive then going back in archives to look for specific people's archives. Perhaps your comments should be innovative rather than based on previous threads.

    Lastly, Mr. J. KHAN - I read most of your posts and they are good. I think you share new ideas and new thoughts. You are one of the few people here who thinks "outside of the box". So keep it up, you always bring a different perspective. Your posts however sometime are long and can be dragging. Although your points are usually thought-provoking.

    As for me: I as a Pakistani am actually happy that finally the players are watching out for their own interest. Usually, Pakistanis put their country before themselves which is great, however if the board (PCB) is taking advantage of your patriotic character then perhaps they deserve a slap on the face like the one Yousuf,Razzaq and Inzamam have given. Although, Yousuf, Razzaq and Inzamam will be missed they should look for their best interest because the PCB has ended many young careers for other players before. Never do they give a graceful exit for its greats and they do take their players for granted. As far as Imran Farhat is concerned he is "too cocky" to be a team player anyway. For him it really seems that he is about money rather than what Razzaq and YOusuf are fighting for, which is "RESPECT"!

  • EAMIRAN on August 29, 2007, 19:03 GMT

    A.A.Khan

    I question your lack of logic and emotionally based reasoning.

    Inzi averages 50 in tests v/s Asim kamal who averages 37. No comparision. While Asim has played some good knocks he has yet to score a century in 20 outings. Getting out in the 90's may (or may not -too early to tell) be a sign of not being able to absorb intense pressure.

    As far as Inzi's average record against quality bowling attacks I would point out that that is not entirely true. He has scored heavily against a West Indies attack that still had Ambrose and Walsh as their opening bowlers. These two were top performers. By your logic Miandad would also not be considered a great since his average drops down to 29 or thereabouts against the great Windies side of his era. This against a career average of 52 or 53; however no one would diminish Miandad's role just because of this one blemish. As far as antics and behaviour are concerned, I point out Miandad again.

    Admittedly Inzi's ground fielding when chasing the ball is weak, however his slip fielding, a position he usually stations himself, is safer than most.

    Your "creative" judgement, which is just another form of ad-hocism, is no different to the way the PCB operates today. Ad-hocism is not in the interest of the public.

    Finally, you remind me of those capricious fans who think that Pakistan should win each and every game, regardless of how good, bad, or indifferent the team really is. The fact is, you cannot win games consistently with 3 batsmen i.e; Inzi, Yousuf and Younis, no matter how good your bowlers may be.

  • WASIM SAQIB on September 5, 2007, 2:24 GMT

    Javed A Khan:

    I dont know what has led you to believe that ICL is going to release its players whenever they are called for National assignments,this has been the key bone of contention all along between ICl and the rival boards, and why would ICL shell millions to a player and release him for a busy season with his home country,this problem has been highlighted by several journalists in the media perhaps you missed those articles. Please remember I don't have any ego problem I only write what I believe.

  • Muhammad Asif on September 4, 2007, 15:40 GMT

    We should not be bothered whether cricket is played under one umbrella (ICC) or multiple umbrellas (ICC, ICL,...). The only thing that matters is quality of cricket, if ICL fails to provide quality cricket it will disappear from the scene as it wasn't there. I would again reitrate my words that its market-oriented world, if ICC fails to provide what people want to see, someone else (like ICL) would appear on the scene to grab the attantion of the people. What I think is that its good for cricket to be played under different umbrellas intead of one umbrella. Multiple umbrellas are good for the game, players & spectators. The only thing that I would like to see is the revival of criket in red & white in limited overs form of cricket. I hope in near future some new umbrella will offer this as well.

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on September 3, 2007, 11:18 GMT

    Javed Bhai,

    The Asian bloc is a significant revenue generating mechanism for the ICC. You mentioned about The Ashes creating interest amongst fans and still surviving in the face of the more dynamic and exciting ODI’s. When Pakistan, India or Sri Lanka play Tests in the subcontinent, only a handful spectators come to watch the matches. The Ashes is a traditional event that is unique in the eyes of Britons and the Aussies. You cannot compare The Ashes with other Test series. The fact is that for most Pakistanis, Indians, Sri Lankans, West Indians etc Test matches are not appealing prospects anymore. It is only diehard cricket fans like me who want to keep alive the true spirit of cricket. What is the true spirit of cricket? It is the concept that it is a game played with skill and patience where there are equal opportunities for batsmen and bowlers to score against the other. ODI’s in my opinion are already too heavily centred around the batsmen, especially with the advent of rules such as Powerplay.

    Why do you think Twenty20 is being introduced as an international competition? It is a litmus test for the ICC to organise the future of Twenty20. Tests are generating less revenue for cricket boards and organisers and hence, Twenty20 is being introduced to flourish the revenue stream. Muhammad AsAf, blogger on Pakspin, had stated that certain “intellectuals” are not aware of the popularity of 20-over contests at grass roots level. I am well aware of 20 over games, even 15 over games and 10 over games. You can examine a procedure or mechanism and tweak it around to create a more exciting product. But the fact remains that Twenty20, being played at official level on the international platform, is a curse to the true spirit of cricket.

    What about the ramifications of Twenty20 as regards Pakistani cricket? Look at the majority of our players- their background, their behaviour. In the ultra-competitive nature of international cricket today, do you think they will be able to mentally adapt between Tests, ODI’s and Twenty20? There are players like Malik, Butt, Imran Nazir, Misbah, Arafat etc. who with or without merit, for the moment, are long term prospects as far as ODI’s and Twenty20 is concerned at least. You seem to assume that the different forms of international cricket will feature different players. Yes, there are certain players like Yasir Arafat who at present seem only to suit Twenty20, but then there are also players like Butt, Nazir, Misbah who are likely to be selected for all forms of cricket.

    I agree Test cricket will not die in the near future. But the revenue generating prowess of Twenty20 means that at some point in the future, Test cricket will indeed disappear. I know that Twenty20 is what the masses want because they can see sixes being hit every other ball. But is that what cricket is meant to be? I can compare this situation with how the masses in Pakistan want Indian films to be shown on cinemas as soon as they are released. But that is something which is not in Pakistan’s best long-term interests for various reasons, so it is not to be encouraged.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on September 2, 2007, 15:44 GMT

    Wasim Saqib

    Its a fact which we all know that, the ICL has very clearly announced that the players would be relieved for national duties when called for. So, where did you get this news that the ICL will not relieve the players? By defending your earlier statement that, a ban is a must for those who joined the league appears that you do not wish to be flexible or change your views, but thats your choice and your prerogative.

    The difference between the Kerry Packer team and the ICL is, the former bought all the top players from all the important test playing nations, crème de la crème of that era, and not just the retirees or national team discards. So, there is no comparison between the two. Even though the news of Damien Martyn, Andrew Hall or any such player joining the league will not make much difference 'coz it will still not create a long term sustainable interest among the fans, viewers, spectators. UNLESS, more and more parallel organizations emerge in every country to create a real dynamic competition in cricket, just like we see in the European soccer league or South American soccer leagues, where we see so many private clubs who buy-out these players and play for European Cup or S.A. Cup. If that happens it will give a real shocker to the ICC, BCCI and the PCB and likes.

    However, if the ICC really wants to promote the game of cricket they should not worry about losing their monopoly, 'coz this is bound to happen sooner or later. They (ICC) should be coordinating with these leagues just like FIFA does with these clubs and with the IOC. The rumour that twenty20 cricket would be introduced into the Olympic Games, if it is true, would be a very good thing for the promotion of cricket in other countries and it will revolutionize the game. Most people say that twenty20 is ruining the game of cricket, I think that is old traditional way of thinking. Twenty20 is a different version of the game, designed for a wider audience and it is a fact that it is a revenue generating machine. When the ODI cricket was introduced similar sentiments were aired that it will kill the test matches and ruin the game of cricket. But, that didn't happen.

    As long as there is good competition among the test playing nations like it happens during the Ashes series, test cricket will not die, neither the 50 overs format. And, twenty20 cricket is definitely a new era in the history of cricket. It will only add another dimension to the game. There will definitely be different set of players for each format of the game in every country specialized in each form of game. So, we need to accept the change and live with it.

  • WASIM SAQIB on August 31, 2007, 16:52 GMT

    OMAR ADMANI:

    If somebody breaks the rules of employment then the organization where he is employed at has every right not to hire them in future. ICL is a rival business and if some players while in contract with PCB and reaping all the benefits try to join ICL and get extra money at the risk that they will not be relieved for their national assignment, I think is completely wrong and such players should be banned. yes if the ICL agrees to relieve the players when they are called up for their national assignments then I think the respective boards should allow them to play in ICL .I also don’t agree with you that ICL will have some higher standards and the players will be able to improve their abilities by joining it if you look at the Indian players who have joined ICL are completely unknown even for their domestic audience. ICL is not even close to what Packer series was in terms of facilities and the Players it recruited.

    Javed A Khan: Its true that the boards let the players join county cricket and domestic corporations and the players get paid by both organizations but there is one key difference that county cricket and the domestic organizations are obligated to relieve the players for their National assignments whereas ICL is not willing to do that at least that's what the major concern is so far also the players have to take permission from the board before they join any county cricket. I have no problem if the players make extra money but somehow I believe that money should not be the only consideration when a player decides whether he has to play for his country or ICL. I also strongly believe that the Pakistani players who joined the ICL, joined it as a protest for not getting selected given that scenario should we assume from now onwards all the players who are not selected are free to join ICL. I agree with you on one main issue that PCB should increase the salaries of the players under its contract so that in future no rogue league could tempt them.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on August 30, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    As opposed to this blog which at times moves at snail's speed, there is so much very fast happening these days in the cricketing world especially in Pakistan and surprises most people with unexpected results. The general rule of Pakistan politics and cricket is, everything which is legal, illegal, possible, impossible, expected, unexpected, true, lies, moral, immoral, right and wrong must float in the same sea of chaos and they may choose or pickup whichever and whatever suits them according to the situation.

    Just when I have said earlier that the PCB are not going to change their stance in removing the bans imposed on a few retired and about to retire players, they surprised me by announcing that the PCB will offer Mohammad Yousuf with greater financial rewards and pursue him to come back? And, that is because his loss to the team is bigger than the rest of the rebels who joined the ICL. This was kinda expected that they might do something unexpected but, this is not the right way to tackle this problem. If it was a policy matter to ban them, then the rules must be applicable on all the players and not just Mohammad Yousuf. But, what is right and what is wrong doesn't matter to the egoistic and opportunist administrators of the PCB.

    This decision if taken has two major flaws and the PCB is confirming that: One, they were calling these players as opportunist and materialistic, but they aren't any different now by luring Mohammad Yousuf with more financial rewards and pursuing him to come back, as he is important and worthy for the team and not bothering about the rest who joined because they are not so important and worthy. Two, the PCB is least bothered about the feelings of those players who declined the ICL offer just to remain patriotic and proud to play for the country. Wouldn't there be some kinda friction between them and Yousuf when he comes back with a better pay package or bonus whatever? So, there isn't just a corporate jungle but a bureaucratic jungle too.

    The players who have attended the camp and about to leave for Kenya and SA, will they be expecting Mohammad Yousuf to join them later? Then, at whose expense? What if Yousuf doesn't perform well in the first few matches and if he is not included by the skipper and the coach in the next matches, then what will be Yousuf's reaction? Mohammad Yousuf has not signed the central contract which expires by the end of this year. So, will he be guaranteed a place in the team for the next contract? All these and many more questions remains to be answered.

  • Anil Rao on August 30, 2007, 7:15 GMT

    I agree with the author.

    I want more cricket than just BCCI’s team playing and minting money without any accountability. ICL is a good idea to fill this gap and i hope it will become like county cricket or NBA. ICL will have six city teams this season with a mix of local and foreign players! these are quick 20-20 games and fun to watch.

    Have anyone heard of ESPN-STAR sports Indian hockey leauge,it was going on for 3-4 years now(I am not sure it still exists or not), with Pakistani and other foreign players playing for different city teams .ICL will be more big and popular affair.

    I am sure once ICL starts playing cricket more and more Indian, Pak, SL and foreign players will join .Let BCCI compete with ICL and start a new league. Competition is good for the game, fans and in all this madness we will get some good talent coming out...off course rich talents. Like Kapil dev said let the players perform well and make a lot of money!! who has problem with that!!

  • Omer Admani on August 30, 2007, 0:55 GMT

    Wasim Saqib, But no corporation could make it a law that a certain person can't work for them in future because he worked for X,Y, or Z corporation. That treads along discrimination. I think it is perfectly reasonable that players have the choice now. If ICL works, the potential repercussions could be over local players-- as the case might be in future-- playing for ICL and gaining invaluable experience. It could also lead us, spectators, to make invaluable judgements as to who is worth playing in our cricket team. It could also mean a playing atmosphere where PCB starts paying a bit more and our structure of cricket as a whole gets more professional. Almost all of us agree thatAshraf messed Pakistan cricket up-- ranked 2 and 3 in tests and ODI before his arrival-- and this means that the doctor has to get his act together as well. Maybe he should do all of us a favor and simply go back to America.

    And it is good publicity for cricket after all.

  • Sami Syed from TORONTO on August 29, 2007, 19:52 GMT

    Eamiran, Syed Durrani, J. Khan, AA Khan,

    Although this is a discussion board and not really the place for personal attacks, what you all fail to realize is that all of you have brought up some important points through your posts. (Jokes aside...)

    Firstly, AA Khan brings up a good point about REGIONALISM... which definitely exists. There is no denying it. Punjabis will say no there is no such thing and Karachites will say that they have not only suffered in Cricket but in all aspects whether its political, financial, societal, development and CRICKET. The second point you bring up about Asim Kamal is one of reckoning as well. I do agree because I have seen Asim Kamal play in pressure situations and he has consistently and calmly scored. He has excellent technique and more over has an advantage since I recall that he is a Left Hander. I would even include Yasir Hameed in the list who hasn't been included either. I would even go as far to say that if Inzamam doesn not come back to test then a likely replacement should be Kamal and if Yousuf doesn't come back then Yasir Hameed should be groomed as his replacement. You'll notice that Yousuf's stylish and graceful style can be seen in Hameeds batting. Furthermore, these two players shouldn't be picked and dropped like cherries rather should be groomed and persisted with. And then the Pakistani team can reap the dividends.

    And AA Khan your suggestion about Selective BANS really does contradict your stance on other issues. What you are suggesting there is that the bad players should be Banned but the good ones should not be. That's like the Rich keeping the rich richer and the poor poorer... I think you have mis-implied perhaps what you meant.

    Eamiran - One cannot be too quick to judge, how can you really say Asim Kamal won't be good if has not been given the chance. Secondly, I agree with you that Inzamam is one of the greats in cricket.

    Syed Durrani - you really need to find better time and be a little more constructive then going back in archives to look for specific people's archives. Perhaps your comments should be innovative rather than based on previous threads.

    Lastly, Mr. J. KHAN - I read most of your posts and they are good. I think you share new ideas and new thoughts. You are one of the few people here who thinks "outside of the box". So keep it up, you always bring a different perspective. Your posts however sometime are long and can be dragging. Although your points are usually thought-provoking.

    As for me: I as a Pakistani am actually happy that finally the players are watching out for their own interest. Usually, Pakistanis put their country before themselves which is great, however if the board (PCB) is taking advantage of your patriotic character then perhaps they deserve a slap on the face like the one Yousuf,Razzaq and Inzamam have given. Although, Yousuf, Razzaq and Inzamam will be missed they should look for their best interest because the PCB has ended many young careers for other players before. Never do they give a graceful exit for its greats and they do take their players for granted. As far as Imran Farhat is concerned he is "too cocky" to be a team player anyway. For him it really seems that he is about money rather than what Razzaq and YOusuf are fighting for, which is "RESPECT"!

  • EAMIRAN on August 29, 2007, 19:03 GMT

    A.A.Khan

    I question your lack of logic and emotionally based reasoning.

    Inzi averages 50 in tests v/s Asim kamal who averages 37. No comparision. While Asim has played some good knocks he has yet to score a century in 20 outings. Getting out in the 90's may (or may not -too early to tell) be a sign of not being able to absorb intense pressure.

    As far as Inzi's average record against quality bowling attacks I would point out that that is not entirely true. He has scored heavily against a West Indies attack that still had Ambrose and Walsh as their opening bowlers. These two were top performers. By your logic Miandad would also not be considered a great since his average drops down to 29 or thereabouts against the great Windies side of his era. This against a career average of 52 or 53; however no one would diminish Miandad's role just because of this one blemish. As far as antics and behaviour are concerned, I point out Miandad again.

    Admittedly Inzi's ground fielding when chasing the ball is weak, however his slip fielding, a position he usually stations himself, is safer than most.

    Your "creative" judgement, which is just another form of ad-hocism, is no different to the way the PCB operates today. Ad-hocism is not in the interest of the public.

    Finally, you remind me of those capricious fans who think that Pakistan should win each and every game, regardless of how good, bad, or indifferent the team really is. The fact is, you cannot win games consistently with 3 batsmen i.e; Inzi, Yousuf and Younis, no matter how good your bowlers may be.

  • Asif Ahmad on August 29, 2007, 17:59 GMT

    We who are living in USA, can totally understand why ICL has been created. ICC has to understand that times have changed around them. Cricket is not a clonial sport any more, eventhough they are trying to keep it the same way. Cricket needed to be privatized and should make as much money as possible. Obviously, we should never disrespect the sport, but organizations like, ICL, Stanford 20/20 will bring new life to the game and many more young Americans will be attracted to the game of Cricket. This is the reality. In USA cricket is going nowhere due to stupid politics and mandatory affiliations with USACA. We have so many talented young players but they have are going nowhere. May be we need a parallel body with ICC. A privately owned, for profit organization where players are picked for talent and not who they know.

  • imran ahmad khan, lahore on August 29, 2007, 16:21 GMT

    i feel we are making an issue out of a non-issue. dont players go for county cricket?!so what i they earna little extra here?just make them have a clause in their contracts that they will be available for national selection 365 days a year. i mean if one or two more pakistani players leave;we are doomed!

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on August 29, 2007, 13:48 GMT

    It is good to see that more and more people are able to foresee the future of the ICL, which is not so rosy after all. Having said that I have to reiterate my point that I am against monopolistic, totalitarian and authoritarian rules and systems. And, I would always vote for open competition, but it has to be healthy and meaningful. The ICL is offering healthy pay packages to the players but, the competition is meaningless and its long term goals and objectives are not so meaningful and offer no attraction or appeal for the masses. IMO, it is not going to create any interest for cricket lovers (except cricket frenzy Indian fans) for a long and sustainable period of time, the ICL looks more like a fad at the moment and won't last for long. And those who have joined the ICL band-wagon may be regretting later as they will feel that they belong neither here nor there. Because, the BCCI and the PCB are not going to change their stance on removing the bans just for a few retired or about to retire players. I am also not in favour of banning these players because they have no right to ban them and that is a monopolistic attitude.

    Wasim Saqib, the example quoted by you about bankers can be debated. First of all these players are hired by the PCB on a very short term contract basis. There is no sense of security for the players by offering them a short term contract. Whereas, the bank employees are employed on a long term employment basis. Secondly, these very players are allowed by their respective boards to work for giant corporations and banks. They are on the payroll of these corporations and banks and they get a salary from them don't we all know this? Don't we also know that they are relieved when they are called to play for the national team? So, your question is answered here that YES they are paid by both. So my question is what makes the ICL a different organization than these banks or the giant corporations or the English counties that hire them? Why this disparity and what is the justification in having two set of rules?

    The funny thing is, the notion behind imposing these bans were first echoed by the BCCI and the PCB officials that, the ICC does not recognize the ICL, therefore they don't recognize them either (read Naghmi's interview in DAWN a week ago) Yesterday, the chief of the ICC, Speed, has touted that the ICC won't recognize ICL unless BCCI does. Who is using who's shoulder here to fire a missile? Here is Malcolm Speed's Five Point Theory: http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/308716.html

  • Syed Durrani on August 29, 2007, 13:38 GMT

    Khan Bahadur Khan sahib, indeed I am jealous of your "wits and repartee" (I hope you did not hurt your arms while putting the thesaurus back on the shelf). But the main emotion that I am hurting from is of loss! National loss! Pakistan missed another Wasim Akram (in case you are a south paw) or Waqar Younis and the cricket playing world is not even aware of it. Crude translation of a great eastern mind sums it all up, "Pity the Nation..."

    Yours truly,

    Syed Durrani

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on August 29, 2007, 10:27 GMT

    Eamiran,

    Sir, that you state I spoke like “a true teenager” or “angry young man” is quite modest of you, would you not think? You seem to have an intense dislike for commentators voicing their opinions that seem to be in the best interests of the country.

    Ever since Inzamam’s debut he has been an inconsistent player. If you look at his career batting chart and compare him with his contemporaries, you will (hopefully) be able to discern my concerns. Asim Kamal has not even been chosen to play an ODI. How can you be so sure he will not click in ODI’s? What is your definition of a good ODI batsman? Someone who knows how to slog? Do you see any differences between the technique of players like Asim Kamal and Michael Bevan or Ashwell Prince? You will probably rebut by pointing out that Asim has never been selected for an ODI squad in the first place. My answer to that is: regionalism. I can only base my opinions on what I have seen of Asim Kamal in the few innings he has played yet and he has certainly been more impressive than Inzamam. In fact he has been the most consistent Pakistani batsman since Javed Miandad, I would say. His domestic record is not as prolific as Misbah ul Haq’s but there have been many players whose tenacity and pressure-absorbing skills have yielded greater dividends in the international arena than in domestic cricket, where matches are less competitive and players are more relaxed. I concur Inzamam has won us many matches single-handedly. But he has also made us suffer disgrace on countless occasions. Look at his (lack of) fitness and his behavioural problems in his entire career. Do you think any other cricket board in the world would have kept him on the payroll for so long? He could only ever keep on playing for Pakistan because corruption, nepotism, favouritism, regionalism and hypocrisy prevail in Pakistan like they do in no other nation. Inzamam’s inconsistency, his poor running between the wickets and his ridiculous fielding has lost Pakistan more matches than his pressure-absorbing skills have won for Pakistan. Pakistan could have gone far into the World Cup if they had a sensible captain. Pakistan had its best batsmen and it had Umar Gul who was ably supported by Sami and Rao. You remind me of those capricious Pakistani fans who cherish occasional good performances but fail to realise the continued failures. Inzamam has a poor record against quality bowling attacks and bowler-friendly pitches. That is not a trait I would attribute to a “great batsman”.

    Finally, by calling for selective bans I only seek a just solution to the unfairness caused to Asim Kamal, which has compelled him to consider whether he has any future with Pakistan. By calling for selective bans I also want to ensure that Mohammad Yousuf, Pakistan’s most accomplished batsman in the last two years, continues playing for Pakistan. Sometimes judges have to be “creative” and “interventionist” to ensure that a given rule does not harm public interest. I can apply that analogy to my concerns regarding Asim and Yousuf.

    Syed Durrani, I seem to detect a certain envy in your post regarding Javed Bhai and myself. Are you jealous you could never bowl proficiently in cricket like me or employ the same wits and repartee like Javed Bhai?

  • Satyajit X on August 29, 2007, 8:08 GMT

    I really dont think that the ICL is a major threat to the BCCI. It might be too early to make a call but most of the guys who have signed up for ICL from India are either second rate or well past their use by date. But the choice of the Pakistani's is really surprising. I assume that PCB's pay is not "peanuts" by any means. Also the Pakistani players wont get much airtime in Pakistan when they play for ICL.So it really seems like a stupid move on their part.Atleast the second rate Ranji players will get some kind of publicity.

  • WASIMSAQIB on August 29, 2007, 8:04 GMT

    PCB and BCCI have every right to ban the players who opt for the breakaway league, I don't think its monopolistic attitude as every employer has the right to stop its employees from working with rival companies while they are on its payroll. Imagine an employee of a bank, can he work for another bank and get paid from both the organizations, I don't think so. The schedule of ICL clashes with that of ICC and ICL is not going to release the players for their national duties unlike the county cricket.

    ICC is the regulatory body of cricket and in my opinion ICL should have followed the proper procedures and should have gotten itself approved from ICC before attracting International players. Most of us are criticizing ICC and the boards for not recognizing ICL but are we fully aware of the repercussions of this league it is going to strengthen players power any player who is not selected by its board for whatever reason will immediately threaten to join ICL, I think the only way ICL can survive is if they get themselves approved from the ICC and by working closely with the respective boards and try not to create problems for the respective boards as no matter what the real and serious cricket will be played under the banner of ICC.

    PCB needs to pay its players more so that such offers should not matter to them in future. If ICL agrees to release the players for their national assignments then nobody will have any problem with this league and it may survive otherwise it’s doomed to fail as so far it has failed to attract a large number of International players, and the players who have joined it so far are either test discards or retired players with not much to offer to the ordinary spectator and this might result in the eventual demise of ICL.

  • srivathsan on August 29, 2007, 7:24 GMT

    This has reference to spacer's observation on home grown coaches.It is a common disease of our subcontinent boards that they not only discourage home coaches,what ever be their calibre, but also snub & humiliate them to such an extant that they never think of even apply for the post anywhere outside.For some time I was also batting for foreign coaches with the only reason that our local boys listen to outsiders more than their own men.But now I have realised that our boys donot listen to them also.Greig chappel & bob woolmer are the classic case & both the team under their guidence excelled in losing to minnows & disqualified themselves in reaching super 8.In what way our own home grown javid miandad,zahir abbas,wasim akram,waquar younis,kapildev,sandippatil,ravishastri & scores of others are inferior to so called foreign coaches ? pakistan has won more matches under miandad than woolmer.Now india is playing better without a foreign coach.Despite such huge reservoir of talent available PCB went ahead appointing a foreign coach.India is following suit.Sandip patil helped kenya to reach semi final in the SA world cup & he is not even considerd for india A team.Javid miandad has been sacked many a time & despite that he is kind enough to offer his services to Geoff lawson.Ther e is an idiom in our local language which says " PLANTS (MEDICINAL)GROWN IN YOUR OWN BACKYARDS ARE NOT MEDICINAL." We look for remedy elsewhere.For india & pakistan our own people make a better coach than from outside.But as long as this maveric boards exists this may not happen.

  • Spacer on August 29, 2007, 5:12 GMT

    In Steve Waugh's autobio it is given that the players who came down for the world series conducted coaching camps for the up and coming Australian cricketers. Waugh mentions about Barry Richards observing his batting and disciplining him. It is a relevant fact that Indian and Pakistani cricketers are blessed with abundant natural talent but our coaches are not quite up to the mark. This is especially relevant as none of our countries (inlcuding Lanka and Bangladesh) can boast of a home grown coach of international calibre. Coaches may not be of much relevance at the international level (or are they ?) but for a budding cricketer it makes sense to have someone like Razzaq talking about batting at the death or Bond (who is currently tipped to join) talking about summoning energy to bowl that missile. If (a big one at that) the ICL manages to have a development programme included somewhere in the contract, I believe it would hit at the roots of BCCIs support base. BCCI has extracted their pound of emotional flesh from millions of Indians. Now is the payback time.

  • EAMIRAN on August 29, 2007, 3:15 GMT

    A.A.Khan,

    Spoken like a true teenager or an angry young man, whichever comes last. Your intense dislike for Inzi, which you do not attempt to hide, has rendered you blind to his match winning exploits, and to the fact that he was a great Pakistani batsmen - never mind his limitations as captain. Even as captain, he had to contend with a pretty average side compared to the teams of the 80's and the 90's. You slogan for Asim Kamal, who is a good test prospect (not necessarily a good ODI option), but nobody would rate him with Inzi as far as batting skills are concerned. Please ask yourself this question - would Pakistan have been a better team without an Inzimam? A player who won us a free pass in to the finals of the WC in '92, who maintained Pakistan's unbeaten record in Karachi against Taylor's marauding Aussies, and the man who saved us from complete embarrassment against a lowly Bangladesh test side. So we lost the last WC. Did you honestly think that side would have lasted deep into the tournament, let alone have a chance of winning? Reality check needed.

    Finally, by calling for selective bans on only some who join the ICL and not others, which you rightly say is "unfair", you espouse the same level of corruption, nepotism, and hypocrisy that you are so critical of.

  • Syed Durrani on August 29, 2007, 1:16 GMT

    I agree with the post. The players toil, take abuse (from media, bloggers, their own countrymen and in case of Pakistan, from Mr. Speed (read ICC). As Shane Bond allegedly said that ICL could be a retirement package, because they are paying above and beyond what the national boards of at least India and Pakistan offer...

    Being professionals, players have a right to earn a decent living and strive for financial security. ICL is apparently offering this and I have no qualms about it.

    I had been on a sabbatical and did not have easy access to the internet, but I am glad to see that things are pretty much the same. You make sense (most of the times), the two "Khans" are at it with the same "listen to me, listen to me, listen to me....."! And I had a good laugh while browsing through your archives where I read about the self proclaimed "Khan sahib" "confessed" that he could have been a test bowler!! Grandiose or what ? Then the other one, the one who flew over Montreal, I was in stitches reading his yelling (bold letters). But I did see a small flicker of hope,as in one of his rantings he compared himself to a "spammer".

    Keep posting everything from these blokes as they are hilarious (not when they are trying to be though).

    Syed Durrani

  • Raza-e-Mustafa, Gujranwala, Pakistan on August 29, 2007, 0:53 GMT

    Mr. Javed A Khan from Montreal, Cananda writes, "And, the first essay on corporations, monopolies and free market economies on a cricket blog is as boring and as monotonous as the subject of economics itself. Especially since the proverbial mundane and dreadful "Monday Morning Blues" comes to haunt most of us when the life is in the slow lane and our internal clocks naturally operate on a day that is longer than 24 hours!" I hold a master degree in English Literature; I have studied Milton, Shakespeare, Russell, Kafka, Hemingway, Lawrence and many more, but I have never come accross such seemingly sublime but meaningless jumble of words. I think this forum should be better used for propagating your ideas, not for showing your skills at writing gibberish which serves the only purpose of filling the blog space.

    Lets get back to the topic. Since the Packer issue, the ICC and its member boards have been tightening the screws to keep things under their claws so that no one could dare try to challenge their authority. Apart from some minor bckerings of some Dinanaths on pay scales and sponsorship issues, the ICC and the boards have been generally successful in stamping their authority on the players. After exercising PTCL-like monopoly for the last thirty odd years, the ICC, for the first time, seems to have been shocked out of its skin at the prospect of another such revolt. The tactics are the same old repressive, but in the presence of all-incursive and extremely independent media, the ICC can not sweep the dust under the carpet anymore. it is high time the ICC realized that like patients in a hospital and the students in a univeristy, the spectators are the most important stakeholders in the game of cricket and, like doctors and teahers in hospitals and universities respectively, players are the second most important people in this set up. Managers and geverning bodies are there to provide guidlines and logistic support, but it is the players who are in direct contact with the clients i.e. spectators. Therefore, instead of amassing huge amounts of wealth by strangling and starving the cricketers, the ICC and the boards should either share a good part of thier wealth with the players or allow them to play wherever they have chances of making more money, as money is usually the driving force in the most pious people's lives. Yousuf has proved it beyond doubt. The poor soul must have been disappointed by the PCB's doctrine of making any Tom, Dick or Harry a captain, but never him, the most senior and the most consistent player of an otherwise chaotic and inconsistent bunch of players. I think he has taken a brave and correct decision. I wish him luck for his future.

  • Raja H on August 29, 2007, 0:11 GMT

    Kamran, It's a good thing to have competition at various forms of Cricket. It's also a good thing to challenge Monopoly boards. But So far I did not see any thing concrete from either ICL which would protect players with guaranteed money even if ICL plans would not materialize. Players are pawns here to some extent. The players who have signed so far except Yousuf are either former greats or players who could not make/excel at the national level.

    ICL is a hogwash, mark my works, this would lead to nothing. This is ZEE TV's executive's show of strength to BCCI and nothing more. Eventually things will subside and there will be only one ICL (Indian cricket league or International cricket League (BCCI term)) with ZEE TV or a new BCCI channel with (EX ZEE TV executives) getting the broadcasting rights.

    Kapil is a very screwed business man, The players who signed know pretty well that they could not be banned for playing cricket in ICL.

    Raja

  • Anam Ahmed on August 28, 2007, 22:40 GMT

    The idea of banning players just because they are a part of ICL does not make sense...i think the players shud have all the right to join whatever league they want without thinking of being banned from there original (National) team...its so much pressure on them and on top of that we have aready lost the star players like Inzi, MoYo and Razzler...i mean please just quit it and let it be both ways...

  • Nadeem Shafee on August 28, 2007, 19:56 GMT

    Except Mohd Yousuf no one desrve to be in the Pakistan cricket. Abdul Razzak has a performance issue from long time. And he also creates problems for Younis Khan. Imran Farhat, failed opener. Like Imran Nazir & Salman but he has major problem in his batting technique. Khurrum Manzoor and Khalid Latif has better techniques than our current openers. I hope they will be our openers soon. Inzi is not able to stay whole day in the ground, Out of form, his time is gone, he needs to understan only ALLAH is forever, rest of the nature has limited age for any thing.

    Nadeem UK

  • Preetam on August 28, 2007, 18:00 GMT

    I think ICC should recognise ICL and allow them to play real cricket against other ICC teams. It would be a good site to see players from different nationality playing alonside each other.

  • Ravinder Khakh on August 28, 2007, 15:41 GMT

    I am afraid that ICL may ruin the true cricket spirit by playing too much 20-20 cricket. I hope they have long term plans for test cricket as well.

  • Richard on August 28, 2007, 14:58 GMT

    What I would like to know is why the ICC is not being investigated as a monopoly, big business is answerable and seeing as how the ICC is no doubt a very large business surely they should be investigated especially with the latest stance they have taken backing the BCCI.Does any one have an idea as to why this has not happened yet?

  • Anum on August 28, 2007, 14:05 GMT

    Its sad that cricketers are more interested in making money, rather than representing their country. Is there any patriotism left? Or has playing cricket become more a business?

  • sanoop on August 28, 2007, 13:21 GMT

    i think people are forgetting that this is an 'Indian cricket league'...its meant to be like the county cricket being played in England. You are playing with first grade cricketers who get a chance to play and learn with international cricketers..some retired..some with international experience. people talk bout the pay being good...sure y not..but if its going to cricketers better exposure and and security in life; i say go for it..! as in Pakistan's case..unless they find talent good enough to replace inzi and yousuf...good luck to them!

  • Saalim Akbar on August 28, 2007, 11:46 GMT

    I am surprised to see some of the comments against the ICL and in favour of the unprofessional monopolistic cricket control boards of the sub continent.

    How long will we live in dreams that modern cricket is more about about country's honour and integrity and less for the game itself. It is a professional game and will serve the country best if it is established on professional grounds.

    The BCCI and PCB have a long history of being inefficient authorities who have done nothing but bring politics and monopoly in the game.

    Cricket in the private sector is an inevitable phenomenon. The ICL is a result of organic growth of this multimillion dollar "industry" in the subcontinent. Regardless of it being successful or not in the long run, the idea is right. As a matter of fact there is a desperate need for a similar league in Pakistan. The domestic infrastructure is hopeless.

    Most of the talent dies before it even reaches under 19 and the ones who go past it are consumed by so called departmental cricket.

    The retired cricketers have no way to support themselves and are always in need of help.

    Lastly, the cricket boards are corrupt. If Azharuddin, Salim Malik, Ijaz Ahmed and Attaur Rehman were found guilty of match fixing then they deserved much bigger punishment than a mere suspension from playing cricket. Where was national integrity and honour at that time.

    Sports in general have prospered in the private sector around the world. The viewership, level of competition, remuneration for players, sponsor's recognition and most importantly, the talent has grown exponentially under private sector.

  • srivathsan on August 28, 2007, 8:57 GMT

    WELL SAID KAMRAN.Yes it is going to cause headache for BCCI OR PCB .I am not going to debate on whether ICL will survive long or its playing format with only retired or about to retire professionals.The fact is it did cause concern for BCCI which took it as a threat rather than opportunity. ICL has made it clear in the beginning itself that they are not competitors to BCCI or any other cricket body & they only go for talent hunt & nurture them so that they can represent their country in a professional manner.They have also said that any player ,if selected to play for their country would be allowed to play for their country,though at present they have only India in mind.Time is not far off this may be extended to other sub-continent nations also.Can any one find fault with this ? I do not understand why BCCI is losing sleep over this. Had they joined hand with ICL taking all the sub-continent nations in to confidence, the ICL would have been a boon for them.The only problem I see for the BCCI is that they would not be able to freely justify the selection of some mediocre players owing allegiance to them ahead of really talented person projected by ICL. I don't blame PCB in this regard as they would have been pressurised by BCCI.Any thing , monopolised, is dangerous & cricket boards are no exception.The BCCI is unwittingly forcing ICL to be its competitor which otherwise would have been an ally.The order of Delhi High Court is welcome & I hope that better sense will prevail on BCCI/PCB & they appreciate the views of millions of cricket loving people of this sub continent. A well thought-out article indeed

  • Usman Nazar Rathore on August 28, 2007, 8:20 GMT

    With due respect to all those who support ICL, i must say that their first public official press conference was not impressive at all. They have no schedule for 20-20 as yet, they don't have any superstar who is "Not Retired" or is "Not out of favor from their respective boards" and they look clueless in direction as well. As far as i think ICL foundation is based on Zee's personal vendetta against BCCI. One should not compare Kerry Pecker with ICL because Kerry injected money and commercialism into cricket which was a new culture at that time, but there is nothing new about what ICL is doing now. I am absoultely sure that BCCI's new plan to make an international league system like soccer will succeed much more than ICL if executed since BCCI has much more experienced heads, resources and contacts to do it. As far as M. Yousaf, Inzamam and Razzaq decision to join ICL is concerned, i am sure majority will agree that had they been selected in their respective desired teams they would never have joined ICL at all. Their decision is just a personal grudge (which is a genuine one no doubt)to tease the PCB, but two wrongs never make a right. Ofcourse i would also say that PCB has no right to ban any player if he decides to play ICL. Overall what i think is that no party is sincere with this ICL idea and everyone is trying to fulfill hiw own personal agenda and cricket will not benefit from it at all.

  • Saiful Ansari, Leesburg Virginia, USA on August 28, 2007, 6:44 GMT

    The Asian Cricket Boards need to clarify the specific reasons to prevent their players from joining the ICL league. When the same players play county cricket in the U.K. or the leagues in other cricket playing nations, the Asian Boards seem to have no objection.

    BCCI being the most powerful and richest Board in Asia finds support among other Asian Boards such as PCB, BCB and the cricket Board of Sri Lanka. These Boards are keen to support BCCI to enjoy the reciprocal support for their needs.

    I have no idea if the players in Pakistan, India, Srilanka and Bangladesh have an independent players union. Even though if such a players union exist, it has been silent and not vocal enough to protect the interest of its members. Player unions should make a strong case to defend the players whose careers are at stake if they join ICL.

    ICL unlike the Kerry Packers World Cricket does not have the enough stars in its wagon and unless they recruit the current mix of International Cricket Stars they can't pose a serious threat to BCCI or any other Cricket Board.

    Most of the Asian Boards of cricket control are autocractic in nature and structure. They do not seem to have the best interest of cricket ahead of them. The sport itself and its tournaments cant be a monopoly of BCCI or PCB, whatever may be their size and clout.

    ICL was long due and BCCI should be congragulated for making policies that led to the formation of ICL. Kerry Packers World series did not last and ICL may wither away over time, leaving behind a interesting legacy for the Board to treat the players fairly and give them better pay and facilities.

    In the short run, it is a win win situation for the cricket lovers as they will get to watch more cricket.

    I am glad at the recent decision of Delhi Court to serve notice on employers who had forecasted that players who join ICL will be fired from their jobs. The Court has ruled in favor of the players.

    In today free market, Monopolies are redundant and the game Cricket can't be monopolized by the Cricket Boards in Asia. The boards must strive to of the game and its players. They should support alternative sources of income for the players and encourage more Cricket at the highest level.

  • R.Narayan on August 28, 2007, 6:05 GMT

    I think the ICL is great, not because it will as yet do any thing significant in bringing forth new stars, but because the BCCI may now be brought to account.In these days of a liberalised Indian environment, the BCCI is an anachronism, the relic of the "License Raj" that stultified Indian growth for so long. It is hight time that the word "Control" was effectively removed from its name, and it's purpose examined. The BCCI is being hoist by it's own petard, created when it convinced the Supreme court that it was not a governmental organisation, but a private society. How can it then claim to represent India officially? A bit like the MCC used to in England. As a private party, it will be subject to India's Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act (the MRTP). It can be accused of Restraint of Trade if it penalises players who play in an alternative league. The ICL has cleverly said that it is not competing with the BCCI sponsored competitions, but it's league is additional to them. Former players could legitimately take the BCCI to court if pensions already earned are withheld.While the BCCI may have some grounds for saying that teams for ICC sponsored competitions will be picked based on participation in BCCI's competitions, such as the Ranji Trophy etc, it cannot bar cricketers who play in other leagues from playing in the Ranji etc and thus make them ineligible for a team that purports to represent "India". These points will to a greater or lesser degree apply to other Cricket Boards who seek to apply the squeeze to cricketers in their respective countries. Perhaps we will now see the BCCi for what it is, an Emperor With no Clothes. As for Mr Subhash Chandra,no matter what his motives, I would say "More power to your arm"!

  • Saima Khan on August 28, 2007, 5:38 GMT

    I totally agreeing with Dawar above,

    "This fruits of commerce will increase gambling in cricket."

    Saima Khan Islamabad

  • John Smith on August 28, 2007, 5:31 GMT

    ICL will be an open invitation to matcvh fixing, the curse of which the efforts of a decade have been unble to eradicate.

    for the last 10 year's, approximately, the ICC's anti corruption unit, the respective intelligence aggencies and cricket boards have worked tirelessly to eradicate the menace of match fixing and illegal gambling- an industry worth over a billion dolllars just in the sub continent.

    ICL equates to playing for money and just tat. no allegencies to contry, region or aim to improve your cricket (like playing county does).....simply a case of men good at cricket playing for dollars, what can stop them for earning a little extra for doing a little less.

    ICL will open the gates of match fixing and gambling in cricket like nothing before.

  • Subodh Bhat on August 28, 2007, 5:13 GMT

    I think both the BCCI and the PCB are giving the ICL far more importance that it deserves. I agree with every thing that has been said about the monopolistic nature of the governing bodies of cricket in Asia and their arm twisting efforts et al, however its very clear that unlike with the case of Kerry Packer's WSC , where he roped in the creme-de la creme of then world cricket and had matches between three awesomely competitive sides the same is not the case with the proposed ICL tournaments. Finally , world cricket as well as any proposed league survives on patronage of the viewing public ( be it on TV or at the stadia) and sponsors. ICL here is on a sticky wicket on both counts. Firstly with players who have signed up , being mostly the inconsequential ones from the active bunch and others who have long crossed their use-by date the public is surely not going to be excited in the long run. Am not ruling out the initial excitement just for the sake of novelty. Secondly, sponsors are not going to queue up to dish out millions of dollars to prop up a venture that does not assure them long term returns. Its fairly obvious where the crowds are going to throng if there are matches on the same days involving Sachin, Ponting , Hayden, Dravid etc on one channel and the likes of Abdul Razzak, Imran Farhat , Sridharan Sriram, Hemang Badani and the long list of other unrecognisables on another channel. The only thing to currently watch out for are how deep are Subhash Chandra's pockets and how many more disgruntled elements with so realistic future with their home boards are going to put their hands into the cookie jar and grab as much as they can ??

  • Junaid on August 28, 2007, 4:07 GMT

    PCB needs to talk to great players like Inzi, Mohd Yousaf and Razzaq as Pakistan needs them. These players will change their mind if PCB gives them confidence that they are still part of future plans. We are expecting too much from junior and inexperienced players so we have to respect these experienced players in our team.

  • Cricketer on August 28, 2007, 0:38 GMT

    Good job raising these points.

    Seems like a lot of people are forgetting your points.

    No monopoly is good for the consumer. I hope there is a lot of competition to weed-out horribly inefficient, sycophancy-prone administration...especially in Asian boards (all typically run by politicians).

    We definitely need something like the PGA or ATP.

  • WASIF TALPUR on August 28, 2007, 0:23 GMT

    ICL proves to be a big challenge for the ICC. And i believe in the end ICL will be able to outcompete ICC by a huge margin. ICL may turn out to be a league identical to the league in NBA, NFL or Soccer in Europe, where you will be able to trade players and you will have a 7 month season with different teams/clubs with players of all ethnicity. That will increase your revenues exponentially.

  • Jack Murphy on August 27, 2007, 21:20 GMT

    The induction of ICL is a blessing for cricketers all over shunned by the nepotism of their PCBs.From here on the control and monopoly of the less than meritorious boards will dwindle.Very soon , cricketers like Hasan Raza , Asim Kamal Mohammed Sami will get their due.

    Thanks

    Jack

  • Sami Syed from Toronto on August 27, 2007, 20:56 GMT

    To add to this article... 1) ICL has went on record to say that player playing for ICL will be allowed to participate in International cricket and for their country whenever required... so why are BCCI and PCB restricting and threatening to BAN players.

    2) Due to this issue now, maybe the PCB who make their own rules and they can learn to RESPECT their players. It's them that bring in the money anyway and why shouldn't they be rewarded accordingly.

    As well, there are countless number of Pakistani players which would've been huge stars if the PCB didn't sink their careers. Look what happened to Waqar, Aamir Sohail, Javed, Aaqib Javed and now INZAMAM, YOUSUF and RAZZAQ. It's sort of mindboggling when you think that last year's record breaking runscorer was omitted due to a 33 year old replacing him. To think, one of the ferocious killers of the ball, Razzaq, not to be included in the 20/20. And I don't understand since when were Yousuf and Razzaq bad fielders. As far as I know Yousuf may have a weak arm but I've never seen them drop catches as far as I can recall.

    To conclude: PCB need to respect PLAYERS and not just end their careers when they want to. ( Just imagine a test match lineup without Yousuf and Inzamam, its almost unthinkable but the sad part is that it might become reality)...

    One more thing that comes to mind is the IMPACT of PCB on these players should they comeback. Will they be disheartened, will they be motivated, or just inflicted with the feeling of being take for granted.

    Sami

  • Arshad Hussain, Luton, UK on August 27, 2007, 20:11 GMT

    The PCB and BCCI should not ban or penalise their players. What harm is ICL doing?!?! Nothing!!! It just wants to entertain the people. Abdul Razzaq was not picked for the T20 world cup and he quit international cricket because of frustration with the selectors. I thought the old lot were bad, these selectors DO NOT HAVE A CLUE!!! They drop M Yousuf and bring in Misbah Ul Haq??!?!?! WHY?!?! The PCB has to get its act together, otherwise we will loose a prolific batsman in M Yousuf and a great allrounder in Abdul Razzaq. Im sorry to say this but i feel Pakistan cricket is about to go downhill from here unless it sorts this mess out and I pray they do.

  • Ali Saleem on August 27, 2007, 20:06 GMT

    Again, I'll have to agree that threatening players of bans from international cricket will only make the case worst as the players would feel as if they have no importance in the country anymore and that is why they r being treateed that way and that will further more encourage players like rAZZAQ TO JOIN the ICL...

  • Gaurav on August 27, 2007, 19:43 GMT

    I agree that players should be free to choose which league/team they want to play in, but I can't see my employer allowing me to work for a competitor, while I am still on its payroll....players have a choice, so they have to choose....but they cannot be allowed to have their cake and eat it too!

    A lot has been said about the ICL, but with the exception of Yousuf, none of the players who have signed up will have any impact on world cricket, as we know it. PCB made it very easy for Yousuf and to a certain extent for Razzak to make this decision, which I think has a lot to do with the captaincy snub rather than non-selection for 20/20 world cup. I will not be surprised if Yousuf does an about turn, provided PCB makes the right moves.

    Future of ICL is not that bright, unless Z TV makes it into a reality TV show....where viewers determine the batting order, team...field placing etc.....now that would be different and exciting.

  • Sriram on August 27, 2007, 18:39 GMT

    Cricket needs this push to become even more popular and the prospect of luring crowds to domestic fixtures appears even more enticing. But is the ICL bringing an "American" Flavor like Major League Baseball, only time will tell.

  • Rayhan on August 27, 2007, 18:32 GMT

    Right on Kamran! ICC and cricket boards are run by a bunch of greedy egomaniacs bent on defying the natural laws of sport in the modern world, i.e., fans watch sports as much for star athletes as for the sport itself. That is why soccer, basketball, baseball and American football stars get paid in millions of dollars because it is them and not the officials who draw in paying spectators to the stadium and eager viewers in front of TV sets where the big money is. It is about time cricketers get paid a portion of the big bucks they help generate. Try playing an all mediocre team and see how many people show up at the stadium or tune in to watch it on TV. I say good luck to ICL and all who join it. May the fans be with you.

  • Adnan on August 27, 2007, 18:29 GMT

    I concur completely with what is being stated. I must say that I am not as informed about league's and their distinctions but on the surface I don't see why players are able to play for county teams for money and not for the ICL without being banned. As a professional cricketer they should have the right to procure remuneration from any source necessary. Playing for their country should take precedence and a similar agreement should be reached as the one that clearly must exist for players playing county cricket. Why should players such as Yousuf be held back and treated like pedestrians when he in particular is a record breaker! Where is the respect that he is surely due. If injustices like Yousuf continue then why should the player really stay loyal. I feel that the ICL has given these players the opporunity to protest their treatment at the hands of the board, who until now had the players livelihood in their hands therefore they danced as the board instructed them to. Now they can atleast go out and get fair market value for their services leading to competition (between leagues and national teams) which has to be a good thing for cricket. We shall finally see how many talented players exist out there which are not given the chance due to POLITICS in sports!

  • Sreekanth Reddy on August 27, 2007, 18:03 GMT

    As long as BCCI treats ICL as potential threat to its supremacy, ICL wil flourish. BCCI should put aside the commerical interests and try to improve the standards of cricket.

  • Dawar on August 27, 2007, 17:41 GMT

    This fruits of commerce will increase gambling in cricket.

    ICI should define polices and standard which prevents gambling.

    There should be check in balance on all cricketers who will participate ICL tournament.

    I agree with PCB to not allow any current Pakistani cricketer to take participate in ICL.

    Any player preferred money and takes participation in ICL tournament. PCB will not consider them for Pakistani cricket.

    PCB should implement this policy for county cricket too.

    I think PCB should also prepare separate team from 20/20, One day and Test cricket. It will allow more players to show their talent.

    New players will have chance to play for their national cricket team. Countries like Pakistan & India where cricket is most popular game among young people. You may find easily 10 to 20 players with the same levels and skills/talent like national player. But unfortunately only eleven can play. In this playing eleven team which we select, we always have few undeserving players. And some time more deserving players like Asim Kamal are ignored by Captain or selectors. This separation will help deserving players like Asim kamal to represent Pakistan cricket team.

    Dawar Naqvi LA, USA

  • Adnan on August 27, 2007, 17:22 GMT

    I would agree with your comments here Kamran. PCB, under Dr. Nasim Ashraf, has been as pathetic as it can ever be. They keep taking U-turns, since now when Yousuf signed up for ICL, they are having a second look of their initial statement of banning players for life. The constitution of the cricket board is also not getting implementated, I only ready today in JANG news that the attorney general hasn't even got the copy of the new constitution. Nasim Ashraf wants to run everything, what did they get by dropping Yousuf and Razzaq and selecting Abdur Rehman and Misbah-ul-Haq instead. Now Razzaq has said that under the current board and selection committee, he finds it very hard to reverse his decision of retirement.

  • Naeem on August 27, 2007, 16:37 GMT

    Your point is exactly right Kamran. If any of us wants to see cricket improve both in its nature of attracting more people and the money the players make, we have to accept things like ICL. I personally believe its a great thing. First because it would give players an idea that Pakistan, or Indian, or any other team isn't the only way to go. Players will be more assured that there are 20 or 30 or 50 other teams that they could possibly play for and pursue their dreams of playing cricket. Personally I believe cricketers love cricket more than anything else. Things like ICL will also improve the interest of people that don't care about the game. Of course, there is an element of more money, more interest in the game. Corporate giants will start looking at the sport, and would want to compete for sponsorship issues and what not. After all, there are many talented pakistani cricket that are not good enough to play for Pakistan but are descent enough to play for ICL and in the process make a lot more money. Tell me, WHATS WRONG WITH THAT?

  • Jahanzeb on August 27, 2007, 16:13 GMT

    On one hand the players complain of over-cricketing and on the other hand they rush towards any other league cricketing opportunity.

    The only use I see of ICL is that it might bring the attitude of BCCI and PCB down and make them face realities.

  • Hammad Siddiqi, Cincinnati Ohio on August 27, 2007, 15:19 GMT

    I feel the decision by the Delhi High Court is spot on. There should'nt be a Damocles Sword hanging over players simply because they are exercising their inalienable right to earn a better living. Monopolies, as Mr. Gates learnt, cannot be tolerated and the sooner the BCCI and the other Boards figure that out, the better. I feel the ICL is a great alternative for players who don't play in the English counties, not just financially but also through exposure on different conditions and playing against or with international stars (current or former) The exclusion of Yousuf is a travesty, Razzak Im not too sure because the fire just doesnt seem to be there anymore. Farhat - I'm pretty glad he's out - but banning these guys? What's Dr Ashraf doing?? Even though the PCB is just closing ranks in support of the BCCI since they know which side their bread is buttered, they need to wise up ad smell the coffee so to speak.

  • M. Rahim on August 27, 2007, 15:07 GMT

    I agree with you.

    Aside from monetary matters, with the absolute power that the boards have, their attitude has become completely dictatorial.

    Players can not even make comments that in any way go against their board or the ICC. This is the most blatant abuse of power in sports these days.

    I also disagree with the stringent code of conduct imposed by the ICC. Why should players be barred from showing any anger, discontent or other form of emotion on the ground?

    ICC would much rather turn the players into robots that they could program and control.

  • Justen on August 27, 2007, 14:56 GMT

    The ICL is seemingly mirror to the Packer: TV company can't buy rights to the cricket, decides to buy players over to play in their own league, board caves in, players return with better pay. The Packer series was good because players were payed so poorly, but the ICL is different, cricketers are being payed plenty. There's no need for more money. The only question left is: international honours. Just like the South African rebel tour with Kim Hughes, if you don't pick them for the national side, they'll find somewhere else to go.

  • EAMIRAN on August 27, 2007, 14:24 GMT

    The ICL is a joke.

    Lots and lots of Indian first class cricketers, a few semi-retired or retired stars and even ordinary International players like Imran Farhat makes for poor viewing. International appeal? I think not. Maybe targeting the local Indian market, which, judging by the it's cricket crazy population, may be the way to go for the ICL.

    As for banning players from participating, that is nothing more than hollow chest thumping. If enough players decide to play, we may witness grovelling, which could well be worth a sight or two.

    Personally, I do not see the ICL being successful over the long run without lots of International stars in it's ranks.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on August 27, 2007, 14:17 GMT

    It seems like the vacation is over for Mr. Abbassi and the dreadful period of "back to school" is echoing everywhere these days. And, the first essay on corporations, monopolies and free market economies on a cricket blog is as boring and as monotonous as the subject of economics itself. Especially since the proverbial mundane and dreadful "Monday Morning Blues" comes to haunt most of us when the life is in the slow lane and our internal clocks naturally operate on a day that is longer than 24 hours! And for me, my circadian rhythms or bio-rhythms are in a pandemonium and in a complete uproar, since we all have to grind the routine and that too after a lazy week-end combined with the outdoor BBQ's on nice sunny days. I dunno how others feel, but I usually experience this notion of being torn between two distinct feelings - Misery and Exhaustion.

    Apart from this new thread which appeared on this blog like the proverbial "Eid ka Chaand", there is a new ray of hope for some on the cricinfo page and i.e., the news about Delhi High Court's ruling that the big corporations ought not to fire its employees or the so-called rebels who joined the ICL. The Court has also issued notices to the federal government which effectively owns the public-sector companies - and the BCCI, among others, and asked them to submit their replies within three weeks - this definitely brings a ray of hope for the rebels that there is something called a "Palais de Justice." and whether they will get any justice is yet to be seen. But, across the border this should be an awakening and must serve as an impetus for the Pakistani judiciary to get into action and gain some more popularity votes by supporting the players discarded by the PCB.

    When Mr. Abbassi wrote: "Clearly there has to be some control of any sport but has cricket become too restrictive?" I think he is reluctantly asking for some sort of intervention from the authorities? But, which authorities? The Patron in Chief of the PCB, the Chairman of the PCB and the members of the Politburo of this regime? They are all chips of the same block. We need a Maverick or, a Chief or, some "Justice Chaudhry" to come forward and pass a verdict in the field of cricket to create a balance and harmony before it is too late.

    Finally, I agree with the notion that at the moment it appears like, "the ICL is causing a corporate headache" but, its not going to last for long. The ICL has its own teething problems in logistics and more importantly in creating an interest for viewers or the general public and I think they will not last for long. I have already expressed my views on this subject in the previous blog and do not wish to repeat them. On the positive side, there is good weather in England and some good cricket is being played between England and India and hopefully we will get to see some more good cricket next month in SA.

  • Sameer A Malik on August 27, 2007, 14:14 GMT

    well said! If the boards are that much strong than they should not be bothered by this minor league which suits only domestic and retired cricketers. Although ICL is offering handsome packages to the players but i can bet the players joining the ICL will never get the Attraction and the Hype as compared to the players playing in their National Sides. I don't know much about Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket because it happened before my birth but i am sure about one thing that cricket wasn't that much globalised at the time of Kerry Packer's and they offered some innovative cricket plus money which attracted the players to rebel, but at this moment ICL doesn't seem like coming up with any innovative ideas or any unique cricket instead they are just organizing a 45 days 20/20 tournament for which they might even find hard to get some good playing facility (Grounds, pitches, etc.) ICL doesn't fascinate any professional cricketer right now except few dumped or aged professionals who are just showing arrogance by joining ICL. AT least i wont waste time by watching 50 kids and 10 aged professionals playing for NOTHING :) As far as PCB is concerned, dont expect anything good from it , they trying to prove themselves bigger than the players, but i am afraid this can never happen because they are making their living because our 11 National players perform in the field and attract the sponsors and spectators. All those clerks (Director Operations, Chief Selector, Media Manager whatever their posts are!) are not doing any good right now, instead of making their job titles impressive they should keep the players happy and organized by using some wisdom not by pressurizing the players because of their SO-CALLED titles which are seemless without those 11 Players. I dont want to see Pakistam Team turning into another Zimbabwe team!

  • Nafis Ahmad on August 27, 2007, 14:07 GMT

    BCCI has made ICL bigger than it could have been by dicrediting its existence. The stance taken by BCCI can easily be challenged in courts and it would only result in embarrassment for BCCI and more publicity for ICL. ICC should have counseled BCCI that if another entity does not use the name of "India" or "Team India" and pretend to represent the country, there is no harm in that entity to exist. BCCP has to follow the ICC line and have done what they should have. It is ICC that needs to talk sense into BCCI and officially maintain that existence of another Cricket entity (any place in the world) does not dilute the ICC membership or its objectives.

  • John Smith on August 27, 2007, 13:58 GMT

    well said,

    about time someone stood up to the cricket boards in the sub continent. inefficient and monopolistic as they are, the cricket boards in india and pakistan are very poiliticised and the detrimental effects of the politics are felt by the players. the icl can be a balancing act for cricket administration in the sub continent.

  • kamran on August 27, 2007, 13:19 GMT

    when's more never enough. Monoplistic yes but dont you these same cricketers says there is too much cricket around. I guess I'm old school but when do you compare honor and integrity with a wad of cash.. Please Kamran go buy some perspective - you've been living too long in west

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on August 27, 2007, 13:16 GMT

    Players should suffer no compulsion from anyone and should be the masters of their own will. It is too early to predict the future of ICL but the BCCI is certainly acting as if ICL can be a long-term pain in the neck for BCCI’s monopolistic outlook. On the other hand some people state that ICL will not survive in the long-term and should not be taken seriously, especially since it features only a fraction of top international stars. The ICL does not have the tantamount financial backing of BCCI, whether you consider the short or long term (BCCI being one of the richest organisations in India).

    In my opinion the PCB should not hold back from its policy on banning those who join the ICL. But this facility in my view is only restricted to Pakistani affairs and PCB, because Inzamam, Razzaq and Farhat have been disgraceful over the years for various reasons and Pakistan cricket does not need them. PCB should “exercise its monopoly tactfully” to make an exception for Asim Kamal and Mohammad Yousuf, two reliable performers, if they go on to play for ICL. Call it unfairness but this is in the best interests of the country.

    I think Younis Khan should also join the ICL because of his unprofessional attitude and inconsistency over the years. Many people have blamed the selectors for this current Twenty20 squad but what people have forgotten is that the selectors stated soon after their appointment that no decision would be made without approval of the captain. Indeed, recently a leading Pakistani newspaper reported that Razzaq and Yousuf were excluded on Malik’s recommendation. Why was Younis included then? The answer is that when Malik became captain he straightaway opined that fielding would be a priority for him especially in limited overs cricket. Hence the selection of Younis whose fielding is decent if you consider Pakistani standards.

  • Jassy on August 27, 2007, 13:08 GMT

    Kamran it is an 'Indian Cricket League' not an Asian one .. the thing worth waiting for will the BCCI version involving the countries where the game is financially viable. This should be a mere stepping stone ... much like the Packer series.

  • Swami on August 27, 2007, 13:03 GMT

    Why is a Ramji trophy player not banned if he plays in English county cricket, but banned if he wants to play in ICL ?

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on August 27, 2007, 13:00 GMT

    Pakistani cricket over the last year has seen nothing but hasty decisions and subsequent U-turns from those decisions.

    1. The Younis Khan Incident: Younis Khan revelas in press conference that he does not accept the post of a dummy captain, after having held the vice-captaincy for ages. Mohammad Yousif is made captain for a few hours. Instead of taking action against Khan, they reinstate him as captain. Did anyone care about Yousif? THey should either not have made him captain n the first place, or should not have taken it back with such haste.

    2. Doping Scandal: They first ban the guys and the "unban" them. THere would have been less controversy if they had not banned the offenders in the first place, or if the had kept the ban intact.

    3. Mushtaq Ahmed: One minute he is the coach, the other he aint the coach.

    The ICL situation seems to be the same story. PCB officials were quick to say that the ICL players will be banned. However they will soon be seen taking a U-turn on this stance. I see Yousif being brought back no matter what.

    MAKING A DECISION AND THEN TAKING IT BACK DOES NOT LEAVE YOU WHERE YOU STARTED !!!!

  • Rash on August 27, 2007, 11:58 GMT

    Well no doubt that PCB will change their ban decision becoz of loosing star players, but they can't impose heavy restrictions also as they were threatening earlier. So it would be a good contest between PCB,BCCI and ICL. Lets see which way the wind blows.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Rash on August 27, 2007, 11:58 GMT

    Well no doubt that PCB will change their ban decision becoz of loosing star players, but they can't impose heavy restrictions also as they were threatening earlier. So it would be a good contest between PCB,BCCI and ICL. Lets see which way the wind blows.

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on August 27, 2007, 13:00 GMT

    Pakistani cricket over the last year has seen nothing but hasty decisions and subsequent U-turns from those decisions.

    1. The Younis Khan Incident: Younis Khan revelas in press conference that he does not accept the post of a dummy captain, after having held the vice-captaincy for ages. Mohammad Yousif is made captain for a few hours. Instead of taking action against Khan, they reinstate him as captain. Did anyone care about Yousif? THey should either not have made him captain n the first place, or should not have taken it back with such haste.

    2. Doping Scandal: They first ban the guys and the "unban" them. THere would have been less controversy if they had not banned the offenders in the first place, or if the had kept the ban intact.

    3. Mushtaq Ahmed: One minute he is the coach, the other he aint the coach.

    The ICL situation seems to be the same story. PCB officials were quick to say that the ICL players will be banned. However they will soon be seen taking a U-turn on this stance. I see Yousif being brought back no matter what.

    MAKING A DECISION AND THEN TAKING IT BACK DOES NOT LEAVE YOU WHERE YOU STARTED !!!!

  • Swami on August 27, 2007, 13:03 GMT

    Why is a Ramji trophy player not banned if he plays in English county cricket, but banned if he wants to play in ICL ?

  • Jassy on August 27, 2007, 13:08 GMT

    Kamran it is an 'Indian Cricket League' not an Asian one .. the thing worth waiting for will the BCCI version involving the countries where the game is financially viable. This should be a mere stepping stone ... much like the Packer series.

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on August 27, 2007, 13:16 GMT

    Players should suffer no compulsion from anyone and should be the masters of their own will. It is too early to predict the future of ICL but the BCCI is certainly acting as if ICL can be a long-term pain in the neck for BCCI’s monopolistic outlook. On the other hand some people state that ICL will not survive in the long-term and should not be taken seriously, especially since it features only a fraction of top international stars. The ICL does not have the tantamount financial backing of BCCI, whether you consider the short or long term (BCCI being one of the richest organisations in India).

    In my opinion the PCB should not hold back from its policy on banning those who join the ICL. But this facility in my view is only restricted to Pakistani affairs and PCB, because Inzamam, Razzaq and Farhat have been disgraceful over the years for various reasons and Pakistan cricket does not need them. PCB should “exercise its monopoly tactfully” to make an exception for Asim Kamal and Mohammad Yousuf, two reliable performers, if they go on to play for ICL. Call it unfairness but this is in the best interests of the country.

    I think Younis Khan should also join the ICL because of his unprofessional attitude and inconsistency over the years. Many people have blamed the selectors for this current Twenty20 squad but what people have forgotten is that the selectors stated soon after their appointment that no decision would be made without approval of the captain. Indeed, recently a leading Pakistani newspaper reported that Razzaq and Yousuf were excluded on Malik’s recommendation. Why was Younis included then? The answer is that when Malik became captain he straightaway opined that fielding would be a priority for him especially in limited overs cricket. Hence the selection of Younis whose fielding is decent if you consider Pakistani standards.

  • kamran on August 27, 2007, 13:19 GMT

    when's more never enough. Monoplistic yes but dont you these same cricketers says there is too much cricket around. I guess I'm old school but when do you compare honor and integrity with a wad of cash.. Please Kamran go buy some perspective - you've been living too long in west

  • John Smith on August 27, 2007, 13:58 GMT

    well said,

    about time someone stood up to the cricket boards in the sub continent. inefficient and monopolistic as they are, the cricket boards in india and pakistan are very poiliticised and the detrimental effects of the politics are felt by the players. the icl can be a balancing act for cricket administration in the sub continent.

  • Nafis Ahmad on August 27, 2007, 14:07 GMT

    BCCI has made ICL bigger than it could have been by dicrediting its existence. The stance taken by BCCI can easily be challenged in courts and it would only result in embarrassment for BCCI and more publicity for ICL. ICC should have counseled BCCI that if another entity does not use the name of "India" or "Team India" and pretend to represent the country, there is no harm in that entity to exist. BCCP has to follow the ICC line and have done what they should have. It is ICC that needs to talk sense into BCCI and officially maintain that existence of another Cricket entity (any place in the world) does not dilute the ICC membership or its objectives.

  • Sameer A Malik on August 27, 2007, 14:14 GMT

    well said! If the boards are that much strong than they should not be bothered by this minor league which suits only domestic and retired cricketers. Although ICL is offering handsome packages to the players but i can bet the players joining the ICL will never get the Attraction and the Hype as compared to the players playing in their National Sides. I don't know much about Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket because it happened before my birth but i am sure about one thing that cricket wasn't that much globalised at the time of Kerry Packer's and they offered some innovative cricket plus money which attracted the players to rebel, but at this moment ICL doesn't seem like coming up with any innovative ideas or any unique cricket instead they are just organizing a 45 days 20/20 tournament for which they might even find hard to get some good playing facility (Grounds, pitches, etc.) ICL doesn't fascinate any professional cricketer right now except few dumped or aged professionals who are just showing arrogance by joining ICL. AT least i wont waste time by watching 50 kids and 10 aged professionals playing for NOTHING :) As far as PCB is concerned, dont expect anything good from it , they trying to prove themselves bigger than the players, but i am afraid this can never happen because they are making their living because our 11 National players perform in the field and attract the sponsors and spectators. All those clerks (Director Operations, Chief Selector, Media Manager whatever their posts are!) are not doing any good right now, instead of making their job titles impressive they should keep the players happy and organized by using some wisdom not by pressurizing the players because of their SO-CALLED titles which are seemless without those 11 Players. I dont want to see Pakistam Team turning into another Zimbabwe team!

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on August 27, 2007, 14:17 GMT

    It seems like the vacation is over for Mr. Abbassi and the dreadful period of "back to school" is echoing everywhere these days. And, the first essay on corporations, monopolies and free market economies on a cricket blog is as boring and as monotonous as the subject of economics itself. Especially since the proverbial mundane and dreadful "Monday Morning Blues" comes to haunt most of us when the life is in the slow lane and our internal clocks naturally operate on a day that is longer than 24 hours! And for me, my circadian rhythms or bio-rhythms are in a pandemonium and in a complete uproar, since we all have to grind the routine and that too after a lazy week-end combined with the outdoor BBQ's on nice sunny days. I dunno how others feel, but I usually experience this notion of being torn between two distinct feelings - Misery and Exhaustion.

    Apart from this new thread which appeared on this blog like the proverbial "Eid ka Chaand", there is a new ray of hope for some on the cricinfo page and i.e., the news about Delhi High Court's ruling that the big corporations ought not to fire its employees or the so-called rebels who joined the ICL. The Court has also issued notices to the federal government which effectively owns the public-sector companies - and the BCCI, among others, and asked them to submit their replies within three weeks - this definitely brings a ray of hope for the rebels that there is something called a "Palais de Justice." and whether they will get any justice is yet to be seen. But, across the border this should be an awakening and must serve as an impetus for the Pakistani judiciary to get into action and gain some more popularity votes by supporting the players discarded by the PCB.

    When Mr. Abbassi wrote: "Clearly there has to be some control of any sport but has cricket become too restrictive?" I think he is reluctantly asking for some sort of intervention from the authorities? But, which authorities? The Patron in Chief of the PCB, the Chairman of the PCB and the members of the Politburo of this regime? They are all chips of the same block. We need a Maverick or, a Chief or, some "Justice Chaudhry" to come forward and pass a verdict in the field of cricket to create a balance and harmony before it is too late.

    Finally, I agree with the notion that at the moment it appears like, "the ICL is causing a corporate headache" but, its not going to last for long. The ICL has its own teething problems in logistics and more importantly in creating an interest for viewers or the general public and I think they will not last for long. I have already expressed my views on this subject in the previous blog and do not wish to repeat them. On the positive side, there is good weather in England and some good cricket is being played between England and India and hopefully we will get to see some more good cricket next month in SA.