Dasgupta, Jhunjhunwala and Badani leave ICL
The ICL is set to lose most of its leading Indian players, including Deep Dasgupta and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala and Hemang Badani, with the unauthorised league believed to have received over 40 release requests from those who want to take up the BCCI's recent amnesty offer.
Dasgupta, the former India wicketkeeper, Badani, the former India allrounder, and Jhunjhunwala, who was in line for an India call-up when he joined ICL in 2007, confirmed their release requests to Cricinfo, and sources said that Ambati Rayudu, Rohan Gavaskar and Ibrahim Khaleel are also on that list.The ICL board is expected to take a decision on these requests at a meeting on May 18.
The ICL had asked its players - around 85 Indians and 70 foreigners - and support staff to submit their release requests by today following the BCCI's amnesty offer on April 29. Madan Lal, the former India allrounder and coach, Balwinder Sandhu, Karsan Ghavri and Sandip Patil have already approached the ICL for a release. Erapalli Prasanna, the former Indian offspinner, has quit the ICL.
It is not clear yet though about the position of ICL's foreign recruits though most are retired players and have nothing significant to look forward. The significant exceptions are most of them, except for New Zealand's Shane Bond and Daryl Tuffey, and Pakistani players Mohammad Yousuf, Imran Nazir, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Abdul Razzaq.
Badani, Dasgupta and Jhunjhunwala said they hoped to get their release letters on May 20, 11 days before the BCCI's amnesty deadline ends. Dasgupta and Jhunjhunwala, the two state mates, said that they look forward to representing Bengal in first-class cricket and possibly get to play a role in the IPL next year. Badani said he is looking to get back into the mainstream as soon as possible, especially the IPL.
"I still have two or three years of cricket left in me," Dasgupta told Cricinfo. "I am not sure what is happening with the ICL, and would love to play for Bengal now. The IPL is also a possibility but I don't want to jump the gun at this stage."
Jhunjhunwala said the other reason why he wanted to return to official cricket was his desire to play four-day cricket. "The ICL is confined largely to a Twenty20 format, and I am very eager to play the longer version. I have no complaints about the ICL though because they provided the best opportunities possible."
Dasgupta and Jhunjhunwala cited "the lack of cricket for the last six to seven months" as another factor. After their last November's programme was cut short due to the Mumbai attacks, the ICL cancelled their March schedule due to the recession and non-availability of Pakistan players.
"I hope we can quickly get back on to the mainstream," Badani told Cricinfo. "I am looking forward to playing for my state [Tamil Nadu]. Considering that I can hit hard, field and bowl well, I am looking at an IPL slot too. "
His problem with ICL, Badani said, was with the quantity of cricket, not its quality. "Nothing's been happening for a few months, and all I want to do is play the game," he said. "I have still got another two years left and hope I can now get to play more and more. I have no complaints against the quality of cricket in ICL, it's just that the quantity was not enough."
Ajay Shankar is deputy editor of Cricinfo