Indian Cricket League, 2007-08 November 22, 2007

Lara's arrival still up in the air

Whither Lara? © Getty Images

The speculation over whether Brian Lara will turn up to play in the Indian Cricket League (ICL) continues. Contrary to what Gaurav Seth, head of marketing at ICL, said earlier this week, the latest news is Lara is likely to arrive over the weekend.

This time around Seth played it safe and chose not to confirm Lara's arrival sometime late Friday. "Hopefully Lara will arrive over the weekend," said Seth, unable to get a confirmed date because he hadn't spoken with Himanshu Modi, the ICL chief who had rushed to London few days ago to have another meeting with the West Indian legend. "Lara had his own concerns but they've been sorted out now." According to Seth, Modi is on his way back to India and soon things would be made clear.

Lara, listed as captain of the Mumbai Champs, one of the six squads that complete the ICL league, was supposed to arrive last weekend to join his team-mates for practice at the Western Railways ground. The second part of the ICL phase starts now with the practice games that commence from tomorrow at five centres across India. The Champs will play the first of their three practice games against Kolkata Tigers from tomorrow, sans Lara.

With the extended delay of his arrival, rumours about Lara opting to play both ICL and the BCCI's Indian Premier League (IPL), which is scheduled to start in the summer of 2008, were adding sweat to ICL management. Seth said he was not bothered about the IPL now that Lara has agreed to the new terms.

"He [Lara] had some concerns regarding the contract he had signed originally and wanted to renegotiate certain terms," said Seth.

It's only natural that Lara will try to come on his own terms now that he knows he is the biggest player with the biggest brand value in the ICL. If he opted out, the pressure would be right on the sponsors.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo