March 25, 2009

India in New Zealand 2008-09

ICL steps in for IPL

Akhila Ranganna

Exchange of bodily fluids be damned, Craig McMillan will replace Ravi Shastri in the commentary box for the Napier Test. Despite the Indian board’s numerous attempts to resist any contact with any member of the banned Indian Cricket League (ICL), it looks like this one is unavoidable.

Former New Zealand batsman McMillan, who captained the Kolkata Tigers in the ICL’s first season, was set to be part of Sky TVs commentary panel for the second Test between India and New Zealand. Sky had been warned that using McMillan would upset Sony Entertainment, which holds the rights for all cricket televised out of New Zealand.

Niranjan Shah, who was India’s tour manager for the one-day series, issued a veiled threat just before he left New Zealand saying, “As far as we are concerned, any commentator or anyone involved with an unauthorised tournament declared by the BCCI, our people will not take part in it.” Shah’s statements caused much furore in the New Zealand media with him being labelled as a ‘travelling goon’.

But Sky TV have decided to go ahead with McMillan. Sky's acting executive producer for cricket James Cameron said he did not believe Sky should be "dictated to" about who should be part of their commentary panel. Who would have guessed that Shastri’s decision to return for a birthday party in India during the Napier Test would cause such a stir?

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Akhila Ranganna is assistant editor (Audio) at ESPNcricinfo

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