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August 7, 2007
Bishen Singh Bedi, the former Indian left-arm spinner, has said that the Board of Control for Cricket in India had no right to stop players from joining the Indian Cricket League (ICL). Bedi felt the BCCI was scared that if the ICL did well then it would show up the board's own inefficiency.
"Cricket is not their personal property and they have no right to stop anybody from joining this league," Bedi told the media at a book launch in New Delhi. "Actually the board is scared that if the ICL turns out to be a well organised event, then their own failures would be exposed."
Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary, had earlier said that players who take part in the ICL will never be eligible to play for India and will also be banned from domestic cricket in the country. Kapil Dev had protested at this, saying it was not fair on the board's part to make such statements and instil fear among the players. Subash Chandra, the chairman of the Essel Group, the organisers of the ICL, also felt that the BCCI as a private body did not have the right to issue such directives to the players.
"The BCCI cannot ban players for playing in the league," Bedi said. "Suppose you are working for a company and join another after some time, your former employers cannot stop you from earning your livelihood. That's illegal."
Bedi didn't perceive the league to be on the lines of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket in the 1970s, given that only former players and players nearing the end of their careers have expressed interest in signing up. He stated that a league of this nature, with six teams playing Twenty20 games, was worth experimenting.
"I don't think it is something on the lines of Kerry Packer series, so there should not be any objection in the first place. I don't know whether this league would be good for the game in the long run but there is no harm in allowing it to take place."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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