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March 10, 2008
Chris Read, the Nottinghamshire wicketkeeper, has said he will take the ECB to court if his involvement in the Indian Cricket League (ICL) proves to bring an end to his England career.
Read last played for England in the fifth Test against Australia, in Sydney, last January before being shunted out by Paul Nixon, Matt Prior and now Tim Ambrose. He took part in the inaugural ICL event last December but since then the ECB have started to take a hard line against players who appear in the ICL.
Read's county future isn't in doubt but he would face a one-year ban if he appeared in further ICL tournaments. The ECB have said there won't be retrospective action against players who have taken part in the ICL, so Read's England chances appear to back in his hands despite earlier suggestions that selectors would take into account the league.
"I don't feel I am banned from international cricket," Read told the latest edition of The Wisden Cricketer. "I haven't spoken to anyone at the ECB for the best part of 13 months so I am not sure. I made a commitment to play in the ICL before any statement was made by the ECB."
And he admits that the legal path would be one to consider if his international hopes have been ended by the ICL. "That would be the natural course to take. I signed my ICL contract in good faith before the ECB had an official policy."
Read believes that as an out-of-contract county player he was free to choose how to fill his winter. Nottinghamshire do not provide 12-month deals for their players so he was a free agent at the time of the ICL last November.
"The ICL was employment for me in the winter. I am a cricketer so I went out to play cricket, it looked competitive and it looked fun and that's why I signed up," he added.
"I would like to play more cricket for the ICL but it is hard to commit because I still have England aspirations. If I am banned from playing international cricket, or unofficially banned, then I would be very disappointed and find that pretty harsh. By performing well with Nottinghamshire I hope I can still be in the frame."
This story will appear in the April issue of the Wisden Cricketer. Subscribe here
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