Confusions grows over ICL players March 12, 2008

Kent chairman calls on players' associations to intervene

Cricinfo staff

Justin Kemp in action for South Africa last October. He subsequently quit international cricket and signed for Kent © Getty Images
Paul Millman, Kent's chief executive, has appealed to players' associations across the world to hold talks with India's Twenty20 leagues as well as the ECB to avoid a possible legal showdown over the status of players in county cricket.

Kent are concerned that Justin Kemp and Azhar Mahmood, currently playing in the unofficial Indian Cricket League, may be unavailable to them if regulations outlined by the ECB last week prevent them from honouring their county contracts. There is also uncertainty over the future of Yasir Arafat, who has yet to receive Pakistan Cricket Board clearance to re-join Kent. "If Pakistan put a stop on Yasir Arafat and the ECB prevented Azhar and Justin from joining us then the consequences would be catastrophic, we would be left in a hole," Millman said. "But should we be allowed to sign two out of the three, then I think we'd have a fighting chance.

"This is moving rapidly, even as we speak, but as we stand we have filed our player registration applications for Kemp and Mahmood - Justin as a Kolpak signing and Azhar as a newly-qualified British citizen, and we await the board's response.

"There are so many different interpretations floating around right now it's difficult to know which to believe and it's not my job to pre-empt what the ECB's stance will be. All I hope is that pragmatism will prevail, otherwise this will end up in the courts.

"If these Indian leagues truly want to help cricket, they must find a window to play their games that doesn't conflict with the international programme or with domestic schedules in other countries."

Millman told the Kent Messenger that Kemp's "preference was to play IPL, but because that clashed with county cricket, he turned it down". He continued: "I've spoken with Justin extensively. He's locked in hotel rooms with dozens of other potential county cricketers out there in India who are all left feeling a bit rudderless.

"We have lots of documentation going back to 2006 stating Justin's intent to play county cricket for us long-term. He's just turned 30 and has said to me on a regular basis his greatest wish now is to play cricket for Kent. All he was looking to do was supplement that with off-season opportunities, as most overseas players look to do. Since then the war has escalated and retribution is being sought against players are about to go out on the pitch over in India."

Millman concluded by asking FICA (The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations) and the PCA (Professional Cricketers Association) to broker a solution.