Big-name signings unveiled
American ProCricket (APC) has finally unveiled the much-publicised big-name signings which it hopes will help attract fans and push the venture into the public consciousness in the USA.
A month ago APC announced that it had secured the services of several high-profile cricketers, only to have to backtrack when various boards refused their players permission to participate. But it hopes that all the contractual issues have been sorted, although a quick glance at the list highlights a couple of potential issues.
The most surprising name is Andy Caddick, who played the last of his 62 Tests for England in January 2003, but has since been bedevilled by injury. He is contracted to play for Somerset in the County Championship, a tournament which runs at exactly the same time as ProCricket. The other major English signing is Alec Stewart, who played 133 Tests for England - more than any other player - before he retired at the end of the 2003 summer.
The organisers had hoped to attract a raft of current Indian players, but that intent was scuppered by the Indian board. Instead, it has gone for non-contracted players, including Nikhil Chopra and Ajay Jadeja, who last played international cricket four years ago, and Robin Singh, the former Indian one-day specialist who now coaches Hong Kong.
The Caribbean also provides its fair share of names. Merv Dillon, Daren Ganga and Wavell Hinds, who were all omitted from the squad currently touring England, and former stars Curtly Ambrose, Cameron Cuffy, Dinanath Ramnarine, Richie Richardson, Franklyn Rose and David Williams are also playing.
Three Australian cricketers - Simon Cook, Greg Matthews and Colin Miller - and a couple of Kenyans - Steve Tikolo and Brij Patel - complete the list.
Each ProCricket club will field teams featuring three to four internationals and seven local players participating in each match.