India news June 22, 2011

ICL can start again - Himanshu Mody

ESPNcricinfo staff
59

Himanshu Mody, the business head of Zee Sports which ran the ICL, has said the league could be revived "if everything falls in place". His comments come in the aftermath of former IPL chairman Lalit Modi's revelations claiming that the BCCI had the "mandate to scuttle the Indian Cricket League (ICL)" and arm-twisted the global cricket community into falling in line.

"The matter is in the court and we are waiting for Lalit Modi to reveal more on how BCCI plotted to kill our league," Mody told Times of India. "If we are able to get more evidence, it will certainly make our case stronger against the BCCI. If everything falls in place, we may start our league again.

"Certain things revealed by Lalit were not even known to us," Mody said. "We knew that there was a stumbling block in running the league but we still went ahead. The intention was to serve the game."

Modi had claimed - in a series of tweets on Twitter on Tuesday - that the BCCI, in its attempts to scuttle the ICL carried out a sustained and widespread campaign against the privately owned 'rebel league' that eventually led to its closure; it "arm-twisted every cricket board and the ICC" to change their constitutions. The ICL was formed in 2007 post India's disastrous World Cup campaign. However, it seemed to have usurped a plan by the BCCI for a similar league. This set off a series of events, court cases, failed negotiations and bans on players and officials that led to the ICL's closure; the league's last competitive match was in November 2008. Modi said the ICL, was made redundant by being deemed unauthorised: the BCCI refused to recognise the league, in consequence to which the ICC and most national cricket boards refused to do so as well. The ICL, though, moved court, contesting the BCCI's right to represent "India".

In an interview with DNA Lalit Modi elaborated on the fear within the BCCI of the ICL, especially the fact that youngsters were joining it. "Yes, this [youngsters joining the ICL] was a serious concern," Modi said. "They were deserting their state teams. Further, the ICL had proposed to hold matches at the same time as BCCI international and domestic fixtures and as such that would have had a major impact on domestic cricket." There were at least 85 Indian and 60 foreign players aligned with the ICL.

Modi hinted that though there was resistance to the BCCI's decision from the England, Pakistan, Bangladesh and New Zealand boards, they were pressurised into following the Indian board's stand - a stand only few in the board were party to. "There was resistance from ECB due to anti-competition laws in the UK. There was also resistance from PCB, Bangladesh and New Zealand as a large number of their players had joined the ICL and if it was to be branded as unauthorised cricket then, they would lose the services of these cricketers.

"The players themselves had, for the first time, an opportunity to earn more than they could by playing for their country and as such could not be denied the opportunity. The ICC, as governing body of the game, was approached by the ICL for approval, which normally should not be denied.

"As you know, only a few are involved in the decision-making process in the BCCI. And once they have decided, the rest go along and rubber-stamp it. There was actually little or no discussion."

Modi indicated that the formative plans for the IPL, launched in April 2008, had been on the "drawing board" when the ICL was launched, the question being asked at the time, was whether the BCCI, "would have been able to launch it (the IPL) in the first place" had the ICL been allowed to grow. The "cheque book power of the potential of the ICL" Modi said, would have led to "a bidding war for the players."

Former India captain Kapil Dev, who is the head of the executive board of the ICL, said it was time to "look ahead". "We have to look ahead and think how our presence can help the game. If the ICL would start again, I don't mind doing it all over again."

Former England captain Tony Greig, one of the founding members of the ICL, described Modi's comments as "interesting". "As I understand, there is a pending court action," Greig told Mid-Day, "so I cannot make any observations [on Modi's comments]. Once I am a little clear on this, I would be more than happy to speak on those days," he added.

The ICL however, has other problems to contend with. The league is yet to pay some of the players who participated in it: 19 Pakistan players, who were part of the league, are yet to secure payments of US$2 million still owed to them, and filed a legal notice in February last year. Moin Khan, the former Pakistan captain, who coached the Lahore Badshahs side in the league and represented the players as well had told ESPNcricinfo in January this year that "none of the officials are picking up the phone now, we've been trying them for months". He added that it was not just players from Pakistan who were owed money: "Millions of dollars are owed to players from Australia, New Zealand, West Indies. We've been in constant contact with Tim May but we've been told now that a legal process could be very lengthy, expensive and not guarantee that we get our money."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SRT_GENIUS on June 23, 2011, 17:58 GMT

    There are some kids in the nearby school who are keenly following this development.

  • dummy4fb on June 23, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    IPL shuld start without any fear of BCCI,

  • dummy4fb on June 23, 2011, 9:51 GMT

    MY PERSONAL OPENION IS I.C.L SHOULD RESTART,BECOZ IPL ALLWAYS TRY TO AVOID TOP CLASS BANGLADESHI PLAYERS LIKE TAMIM IQBAL.TAMIM THROUGHLY DESERVE TO TAKE PART OF I.P.L.TEAM.HAVE A LOOK K.K.R PURCHESE GOTUM GHUMVIR & YOUSUF PHATAN SPENDING ALLMOST HUGE AMOUNT OF 4 MILLION DOLLARS,BUT PLEASE HAVE LOOK THIER PERFORMANCE THIS IPL-2011 SEASON. ALSO I SHOULD ADD DURING IPL-2011 AUCTION MOST TEAM TRY TO PUCHESE UNKNOWN NAME AUSTRELIAN DOMESTIC PLAYERS,NOBODY NAVER EVER SAW THEM AT INT. ARENA. AT LAST ONCE AGAIN I WANT TO SAY I.C.L SHOULD RESTART.

  • Navin84 on June 22, 2011, 22:57 GMT

    The ICC or which ever body is responsible should allow the ICL which would have retired players and players who are not in their country's 30 man squad. In this way the ICL can be played at any time without interferring with international matches and players like Gayle, etc.

  • Hassan.Farooqi on June 22, 2011, 20:01 GMT

    Mr. Modi has proved to be a very successful organizer. He is the only person who can do what everyone else tried and failed, start the American Premier League. There is more money to be made here than IPL, if Mr. Modi put the kind of energy he had put in IPL.

  • vivekjagan on June 22, 2011, 18:14 GMT

    BCCI did nt agree for UDRS now many decisions are going wrong in WI tour.. udrs ll definitely help ..ppl must understand..

  • rakesh214u on June 22, 2011, 17:56 GMT

    people will stop watch cricket if ICL comes, already its more t20 cricket... BCCi plz stop IPL tooo and don't encorage ICL to come in... Modi wants to earn some money with ICL.

  • ms.arjun on June 22, 2011, 17:42 GMT

    ICL was a great initiative, it's purpose was to present the top players in the country up for the national selection. Somehow that idea was suppressed and buried by BCCI, and they started IPL, which is oriented towards making insane amount of money for few already rich business tycoons and industrialists. Yes, its accepted that it made many cricketers life secure. However 20-20 is turning out to be a overdose. First, its time BCCI reduce the length of IPL similar to CLT20. Second, ICL is history. I dont think people care anymore.

  • donda on June 22, 2011, 17:13 GMT

    No ICL only IPL is fine. I am in favor of IPL because it is under BCCI and Modi is just playing his cards to get more attention.

    This is normal big fish always eat the little fish and that is what BCCI did and BCCI was right in their interest and interest of cricket as a whole.

    Only ICC and Boards should be allowed to control cricket otherwise we will have as many leagues as many billionaires we have.

  • dummy4fb on June 22, 2011, 16:25 GMT

    We must not forget ICL was the one reponsible for the popularity of T20 Cricket and IPL...............ICL must be given another chance .............good now that hope is still there of it being started again!

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