Pro Cricket league

Indians get set for US Pro Cricket

Wisden Cricinfo staff

June 11, 2004

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Vinod Kambli: one of the stars on view in the brand-new US league © AFP
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Two dozen Indians are set to participate in the USA's Pro Cricket league which begins in a week's time. The 20-overs-a-side games will feature former Test and one-day players, as well as domestic stars, who will be divided among the eight teams.

The season, which lasts three months, will feature the likes of Vinod Kambli and Ajay Jadeja, and though the money isn't substantial, the players will be given the option of committing for as many games as they like. The BBC sports website reported that Anshuman Gaekwad, who was the go-between for the organisers and the players, said that it would enable them to return home when they wished.

"It allows the cricketers a flexible option of playing as few as three games over a weekend, then returning home to their normal businesses and coming back when they feel like it," said Gaekwad, adding that the players could participate and later decide whether they wanted to play some more. "I've asked the players to view it as a cricket-playing holiday and then decide if they might want to play more matches.

"The hosts are going to spread the red carpet and provide hospitality, but there isn't going to be big money involved - the players know that," he said. "No formal contracts are involved here, the invitation and acceptance is all by word of mouth. The cricketers are trying to mix weekend cricket with an off-season holiday. Keeping that in view, they'll surely have a good time."

Kambli, who is known for his big hitting, was excited by the opportunity, and said that it would beat not playing cricket at all. "It's an exciting proposition, far better to be knocking the ball around in a 20-over match during the off-season rather than have no cricket. I'm looking forward to playing in the US. It sounds like an exciting format. I'll play some games, come back to attend to my work in Bombay, and return to play some more matches."

While Sanjay Bangar, Deep Dasgupta and Nikhil Chopra had agreed to play, Gaekwad said that the organisers were not seeking international players, as finding time in the busy international schedule would surely be a constraint.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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