'They have signed the contracts' July 25, 2007

Warne, McGrath have joined breakaway league - Kapil

Cricinfo staff

Kapil Dev called the ICL the "most exciting thing to happen to world cricket" © AFP
Kapil Dev has told the Australian that Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath have agreed to join the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL).

"They have signed contracts so that to me means that they have taken the deal," Kapil, the chairman of the ICL's executive board, said, adding that the organisation was also negotiating with some young Australian cricketers.

He said the new league gave an opportunity for players to exploit the fact that India generated most of the revenue in world cricket. He termed the ICL "the most exciting thing," to happen to world cricket in recent times.

Regarding the opposition from official bodies such as Cricket Australia and the BCCI, Kapil was confident that the boards would eventually come to see the league as being beneficial to the game. "Look, I didn't like 50 overs when Kerry Packer started it," Kapil said. "I don't think there is a single cricketer who didn't criticise it as pyjama cricket. Today, everyone is a fan, everyone talks about it. We may find the same thing about Twenty20 in five years.

"But it is the public that will have to decide. If it brings back the crowds, that is the best we can hope for and what we want to achieve. Nobody could ever have thought that 50 overs was going to be so successful. We hope the same for our new league.

"The objective of our new league is above all else to give hundreds of players around the world better jobs, better money, better opportunities," he said. "If cricket in India does not get the sort of uplift it so desperately needs now, it will go the same way as hockey in the country."

The ICL is a Twenty20 series proposed to be held around October in India featuring six teams comprising four international players and two Indian stars, with the rest made up of younger players.