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November 13, 2007
Kapil Dev, the former Indian captain who is heading the unofficial Indian Cricket League, has said the tournament will go ahead despite pressures from various boards around the world.
The ICL has been facing a slew of problems since its launch, from the active opposition of the Indian board to the massive wage bill incurred by promising dozens of players' hefty packages that start at Rs30 lakhs (US$ 80,000 approx). But Kapil was determined to prove the doubters wrong.
One key problem is the availability of grounds, with the BCCI barring the use of any of its facilities to the ICL. However, he claims to have found a functioning ground at Panchkula near Chandigarh. "We have done the pavilion and the lights will be ready," Kapil was quoted as saying in the London-based Daily Telegraph. "The advertisements are running on Indian television, the publicity has started, and we have prepared the uniforms for all six teams. "We are very determined and very proud of what we are doing, which will promote the game of cricket and give many young players the chance to build a career. If people think they can block us, that's fine. The best thing is just to wait and watch."
News related to the ICL has been trickling into the Indian media on a daily basis. It has conducted two camps so far, the second of which ended in Chennai on October 25, and is now planning regional camps in Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi. The Kolkata camp, starting on Friday, will be overseen by Daryll Cullinan, the former South African batsman roped in to coach the Calcutta Tigers team.
However the Indian Express reported that the camp could run into difficulties because the venue, the Calcutta Cricket & Football Club (CC&FC), is an affiliated unit of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). It's also one of the founding members of the CAB. The connection could force the ICL organisers to look out for another venue.
The Calcutta Tigers currently comprises 13 players from the domestic circuit -- seven from Bengal, four from Assam and two from Jharkhand - while the names of the five international players allocated for the side from the east zone will be announced in a couple of days' time. Following the Kolkata camp the players will fly down to Mumbai for a round of warm-up matches before heading to Panchkula.
Meanwhile there was some controversy surrounding ICL in Bhopal, in central India. Former Indian allrounder JP Yadav and Mohnish Mishra, another first-class cricketer, were not allowed to play in the All India Manish Agnihotri Memorial Cricket Tournament in Bhopal because of their alignment with the league.
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