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January 28, 2010
Leicestershire face the prospect of competing in next season's Twenty20 Cup without veteran wicketkeeper Paul Nixon.
Nixon's past links with the 'unofficial' Indian Cricket League mean that if he played for Leicestershire in this year's Twenty20 Cup, the team would not be invited to the Champions League in India in September should they qualify.
Nixon, though, believes that, having cut his ties to the ICL, he is eligible to play. But having invested in Andrew McDonald and Brad Hodge from Australia, plus the signings of Matthew Hoggard, James Benning and Will Jefferson, Leicester are aiming to be genuine challengers for the competition they won in 2004 and 2006.
The Twenty20 finalists qualify for the lucrative Champions League and with the significant sums at stake, Leicestershire are reluctant to take any risks. David Smith, the club's chief executive, told the Leicester Mercury: "The advice the club have been given by the ECB via the Champions League governing body was that, if Paul played for Leicestershire in this summer's competition, the club could not be invited to participate in the Champions League in September 2010.
"We have invested heavily in the first-team squad for the forthcoming season. Brad Hodge was the fifth recent Leicestershire signing alongside his Victorian team-mate Andrew McDonald, who is our overseas player for the 2010 season. Brad and Andrew are Twenty20 specialists and have been specifically brought in to assist the club to be competitive in this form of the game."
"The club have an excellent record in the Twenty20 competition and simply cannot put at risk Champions League participation through the playing of any player with ICL connections. So, unless there is a change in the Champions League's position towards ICL players, the club will not pick Paul to play."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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