Indian Cricket League April 15, 2009

ICL to hold third season in October

Cricinfo staff

The ICL will hold the third edition of its Twenty20 tournament in October 2009. The news was announced in a statement issued two days before the ICC is expected to decide on its application for official recognition. Subhash Chandra, the ICL's owner, said he was hopeful of receiving official sanction during the ICC board meeting in Dubai on April 17-18 but added that the league would explore legal options otherwise.

Kapil Dev, who heads the ICL's executive board, said the league has initiated a performance evaluation programme to develop a better talent pool, improve player performance and "take the league to the next level". About 18 out of 85 Indian players and 15-16 from a pool of 70 foreign players are understood to be under the scanner.

Significantly, while Kapil specified that the league would resume its "ICL 20-20 Domestic Tournament and ICL 20s Indian Championship ", which is based on an inter-city format, there was no mention of holding the ICL World Series, in which national XIs are pitted against each other, a competition that had the ICC worried last year because it had the potential to develop into an alternate World Cup.

The ICL had cancelled their March programme due to the deepening economic recession and the Pakistan's government's refusal to clear their country's players for the league - the Lahore Badshahs, captained by Inzamam-ul-Haq, had emerged as the most popular draw last year. The league was in the news once again this month after Pakistan named three ICL players in their World Twenty20 probables list but withdrew them as they had no ICC clearance to include them. In between, there were reports of the league withholding payment to some players, a move that ICL officials claimed was linked to the performance review.

Chandra, who heads Essel Sports, which runs the league, claimed that the two-year-old ICL had emerged as a "global brand". "We have successfully conducted seven tournaments through our pioneering league," Chandra said. "We are hopeful to receive official recognition at the ICC executive board meeting scheduled for April 17 and 18 in Dubai, failing which we will pursue legal options."