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July 29, 2007
The recently floated Indian Cricket League (ICL) has found that "reactions have been positive" in its hunt to recruit domestic players.
"Quite a few people are disillusioned with the way the BCCI functions," Himanshu Mody, the business head of the ICL, told the Hindustan Times. "At the same time we are carefully scanning players' lists for our needs. We need to be careful and make sure they suit us too. They have to be players who have either played some level of quality cricket or youngsters who have the potential to do so."
The ICL is a Twenty20 tournament scheduled for this October and will have six teams with two Indian internationals, four overseas players and eight juniors in each side. After two years the plan is to increase the number of sides in the league to 16.
On its part, the BCCI is not taking the ICL's search for players too seriously. "It will not affect domestic cricket in any way," said Niranjan Shah, the board secretary. The board also made brave noises on the exodus of Indian domestic coaches to the ICL - at last count Madan Lal, Sandeep Patil, and Balwinder Singh Sandhu. "I don't think the Ranji would be affected. We have enough quality coaches," Sanjay Jagdale, the national selector, said.
Sandhu, whose contract with the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association was not renewed this season, said he had had standing offers or feelers from four BCCI-affiliated associations but still decided to join the ICL. According to him, the ICL was not a competitor to the BCCI since the end goal of the two - that of improving Indian cricket - was the same. "You know why so many talented ones fail to get spotted in the regular camps run by the associations," Sandhu told Zee News. "They are pushed out by those who are less talented but are being backed by men who matter. This can be set right in ICL talent spotting camps."
Meanwhile, Atul Wassan, Delhi's chairman of selectors, said that losing some of its top players might be a blessing in disguise for the team. "As it is, we struggle to qualify everywhere. If two-three stars go, we might as well lose with youngsters," said Wassan. He admitted however that if the team lost youngsters it would hurt it badly.
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