Brian Lara has become the first big-name signing for the Indian Cricket League, which announced today that it has also contracted former Indian allrounder Madan Lal to coach its Delhi team and Balwinder Singh Sandhu as director of academies.
Lara, who retired from international cricket after the World Cup earlier this year, said he looked forward to playing with promising youngsters and to captaining one of the teams. "You can't keep me too far from cricket and hence I return to the game in this exciting new avatar", Lara said in a statement issued by the Essel Group, promoters of the ICL.
Lara's joining the ICL had first been reported in May and at the time the names of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath had also been linked with the league.
Rajesh Chauhan and Pranob Roy, former players who had also served as selectors, were roped in as talent scouts for the league. They joined Kapil Dev, Kiran More and Sandeep Patil on the ICL roster.
The Board for Control of Cricket in India has not given its official sanction to the ICL, and has, in a controversial decision, barred current India players and former players on its payroll from associating with it.
Niranjan Shah, the secretary of the BCCI, recently said the board had decided not to recognise the ICL as no State Association was in its favour. "We don't want to promote anybody who wants to be a parallel body. We have a policy and there will not be any re-think on this."
Lal, who was a part of India's World Cup-winning team captained by Kapil Dev, said his role as a coach included inculcating character in the team and creating a "brand of cricket which possesses killer instinct".
In his reaction, Sandhu pointed out that he had been the head coach at the BCCI's National Cricket Academy and the coach of the under-19 team.