Indian Cricket League

ICL players optimistic despite failed talks

Nagraj Gollapudi

February 24, 2009

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Jason Gillespie: "It is very clear the ICC would like to see a resolution, the ICL wants a resolution but it just seems BCCI is not very keen" © ICL
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Players and officials at the ICL remain positive and hopeful despite the failure of talks between the ICC, BCCI and the ICL in Johannesburg on Monday. "We are moving forward," Kapil Dev, chairman of the ICL board, told Cricinfo. Kapil said he could not provide further details as he is yet to chat with league owner Subhash Chandra (the ICL business head Himanshu Mody, who attended the meeting.

ICL has been fighting hard to get rid of the rebel tag slapped on it by the BCCI, which has banned the ICL players from all forms of official cricket. But the involvement of the ICC recently as a mediator was seen as a shot in the arm for the unofficial league and its people now are optimistic.

Former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie, who plays for the Ahmedadbad Rockets, felt it is only a "matter of time" before a resolution is reached. "It is very clear the ICC would like to see a resolution, the ICL wants a resolution but it just seems BCCI is not very keen on a resolution," Gillespie said. "The good thing is all parties are talking and I'm very confident that some sort of understanding will be reached. The parties have met a few times now and the ICC executive board is scheduled to discuss the issue in April again. That shows people are keen and I'm quietly confident."

Royal Bengal Tigers' Rohan Gavaskar said he was hurt by the fact that despite playing the game in the proper way the ICL players have been termed as outcasts. "It is unfair," Gavaskar said, hoping there will be some sort of arrangement in the future and the BCCI will understand their side of the argument.

Gavaskar's Bengal team-mate Deep Dasgupta went one step ahead and demanded the BCCI to honour its duties. "The BCCI is a parent body and has been known to stand up for the rights of the player and there is no reason that they can't think of all cricketers as one, be it from the ICL or the IPL," Dasgupta said.

Marvan Atapattu, the Delhi Giants captain, was hurt by BCCI's double standards of giving recognition to the Indian Premier League (IPL) while denying the ICL, which plays similar form of cricket, the same status. "Injustice has been done to the ICL. Everybody should be treated the same way. They have opened the window in the international calendar for another league and that doesn't sit well with me," Atapattu said.

The ICL and BCCI first met in September last year but talks collapsed twenty minutes into the meeting after Chandra refused the Indian board's offer to disband the ICL and take up an IPL franchise instead. However the ICC is keen to have the matter sorted out at the earliest.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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