American ProCricket, the league set to get under way on July 2, will proceed as planned despite the fact that several international players have pulled out, or have claimed they were never involved in the first place, just days before the scheduled start. The Indian Express reports that the ProCricket is set to take place in spite of the ICC instructing national boards not to allow contracted players to take part in the event.
The ProCricket league hoped to attract international players from around the globe, and released a list of likely signings, but there have been several casualties already. Alec Stewart, who was one of the touted signings, has denied any knowledge of the league, while Andy Caddick, also mentioned in connection with ProCricket, has pointed to an existing contract with Somerset which leaves him with no chance of playing elsewhere during the time ProCricket is set to be conducted.
The Indian board was quick to remind its players that ProCricket was not an official ICC event and that players did not have the permission of the home board to take part in the event. Despite this, several cricketers who are active in domestic cricket, including Nikhil Chopra, Ajay Jadeja and Rahul Sanghvi, have decided to go ahead and play in the tournament, according to a report in The Asian Age. These players will be exposed to disciplinary action from their respective state associations if they decide to take part in ProCricket.
But in all this, Kalpesh Patel, the American ProCricket commissioner, is soldering manfully on, and believes that the venture will be a success. He told The Indian Express, "Only the non-contracted ones [players] are our interest. We are not in competition with anybody, so we are not a threat, as all the protocols will be followed." He added that the ICC appreciated "our efforts and wished us well".
Patel insisted that all was well with ProCricket, basing this on his claim that the league is fully funded for the first three years. The interest raised by an exhibition match played in America on June 19 has also led him to be optimistic. "Actually we sent out invites to only 50 people, but around 900 turned up as we kept the gates open. Online bulletin boards have been talking about the opening match, so that is an indication that it is here to stay."