ECB policy under fire February 12, 2009

ICL targets English umpires

Cricinfo staff

The Indian Cricket League remains keen on recruiting English umpires, despite attempts by the ECB to tie its leading officials to the board with 12-month contracts.

Speaking to the Wisden Cricketer magazine, Himanshu Mody, the business head of the ICL, said that two more umpires were set to join. "We approached English first-class umpires because we were keen to maintain international standards. We are still looking at England as a recruiting ground for umpires. In fact, we are in the process of bringing in two more English umpires to officiate in ICL."

But the ECB has made clear that it would not renew contracts of any umpire who signed for the ICL, an approach which was attacked by former first-class umpire Allan Jones. "The current policy and attitude towards the ICL is wrong. The [ECB] don't want the ICL because it clashes with the IPL. The ECB are worried about security and betting.

"We had a small incident but the security is actually very good. The cricket and crowds are fantastic and the TV referrals system works brilliantly. It's the most fun I've had standing up." Jones took early retirement from the ECB rather than miss out on the IPL, signing a deal with them through to 2011 instead.

"It was pretty obvious that no matter how good I was, I wasn't getting any big matches anymore," he told the magazine. "The ECB were giving them to all to the youngsters. It wasn't a difficult decision. I get the same money as I was earning for less than half the time. I was a little fed up driving around England living permanently out of a suitcase."