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May 14, 2007
Zee Sports, who are behind the newly-mooted Indian Cricket League (ICL), has denied the report circulating in media that Brian Lara, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Inzamam-ul-Haq, were signed up for the series.
"We are in discussions with a few players," Himanshu Modi, the Zee Sports Business Head, said at a press conference in Mumbai. "I'm not able to confirm any names yet. The idea of today's meet was to introduce the board to you that will finally be discussing and shortlisting the players and finalising with them. We will be filling you in with more details as we progress. We haven't had any rebuttal from any of the players yet - the last few weeks have kept them genuinely busy with larger issues they've been tied up with. We haven't heard anything from them."
It was announced that Kapil Dev, Tony Greig - former captains of India and England respectively - Dean Jones, the former Australian batsman, and Kiran More, the former Indian wicketkeeper, would be on the executive board of the ICL. Kapil was appointed as the chairman of the board.
The league is set to comprise six teams from regions across the country and start its first season sometime later this year. The teams will be newly created and not based on statewise or zonal demarcations.
Kapil clarified that this wasn't a breakaway league but one which would nurture talent for the BCCI's benefit. "Basically we will give more opportunity for players to show their talent and go on to represent the country. We want to improve our domestic cricket as much as we can. We are not looking to create a rival team but helping the Indian board to find more talent and feeding the national team."
Greig was glad to be part of the initiative. "This will be a platform from all corners of India to play with and against some of the stars of international cricket," said Greig. "They can learn from them and gain confidence to excel. I think Indian cricket is ready for a professional cricket league. I'm confident we can make a difference."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.