The Indian Cricket League’s (ICL) plans of roping in South Africa discard Jacques Kallis received a severe jolt after his agent Dave Rundle confirmed that although the maverick all-rounder was approached by the rebel league, he would not be signing up.
Rundel’s revelations came hot on the heels of news of two former South African Test and one-day players, all-rounder Lance Klusener, and left-arm spinner Nicky Boje, association with the multi million dollar league.
However, Cricket South Africa (CSA) has already issued a warning to its players that whosoever joins the ICL, might have to do away with the risk of being banned forever as the unofficial league had neither received ‘go ahead’ from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) nor the games international governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The South African media quoted rundle as saying that the ICL organisers had approached Kallis with a view to recruit him, but the 31-year-old all-rounder, who was neglected by the national selectors for next month`s Twenty20 World Cup to be held in home turf, had rejected their offer.
“Jacques Kallis wants to sort out his issues with cricket SA and in this regard soon a meeting will be held between him, CSA Ceo Gerald Majola, myself and whoever else needs to be there,” said Rundle.
“The last thing on earth Jacques Kallis expected to hear was that he was not selected for the Twenty20 squad.”
“He just wants to sit down with the people involved and find out if they think he is not good enough to play Twenty20 cricket or, if that is not the case, why he was dropped,” he added.
Rundle further made it clear that for Kallis, who is regarded as one of top all-rounder of the game, national duty comes first.
“As I have already spelt out, Jacques does not want to go anywhere else.”
“His first priority is to play for SA and if he can sort things out here at home that will be first prize for him,” he said.
However, he did not completely rule out the possiblity of Kallis joining the breakaway league.
“If we cannot get any satisfaction in the meeting, then we will start considering other avenues,” Rundle said
Pakistan batsman Younus Khan has revealed he rejected the opportunity to join the Indian Cricket League over fears it would spell the end of his international career.
The Pakistan Cricket Board have stated that any player who signs up for the ICL will not be considered for selection, and Younus feels he still has “four or five” years left at the top level and with his department side Habib Bank.
He wrote in his diary for http://www.bigstarcricket.com: “I was the first Pakistani to reject the Indian Cricket League offer, and the reason is I feel a loyalty to my department – Habib Bank – and for Pakistan.
“I still feel that I have another four or five years of international cricket in me – and I don’t want to jeopardise that and be disloyal to Habib Bank by signing for the ICL.
“When I have been playing for Pakistan or county cricket in England, Habib Bank have still paid me my salary all year round for the last six or seven years – and I want to repay that loyalty they have had in me.”
The 29-year-old, who scored two double-centuries for Yorkshire in his four months with the team, left England for Pakistan today and will soon fly out to Kenya – where his country will play some preparation matches before the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa.
Brian Lara and Inzamam-ul-Haq have signed up for the ICL – as well as Younus’ Pakistan team-mates Mohammad Yousuf, Abdul Razzaq and Imran Farhat.
With the tussle between the BCCI and the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) intensifying in the last few days, the International Cricket Council (ICC) today maintained that it was an “internal matter” of the Indian Board and there was no need for any interference at this stage.
The ICC also said that it was upto the respective cricket boards to take a decision on the players defecting to the multi-million dollar breakaway league.
“The ICC Executive Board has taken a policy decision that the BCCI was the only competent authority to deal with the issue. It is upto the BCCI to decide whether to recognise the ICL or not,” an ICC spokesman told PTI from Dubai.
He said that the BCCI representative had taken up the ICL issue during the last Executive Board meeting at the Lord’s in June.
“The Executive Board had told the BCCI that it was an internal matter and it was left to them whether to recognise the ICL or not. The ICC had told them that cricket should not suffer,” he said.
“The ICC Executive Board, which has the Chairman of all Test playing nations as members, makes the policies and the respective boards have to follow that,” he said.
The BCCI had sacked Kapil Dev as Chairman of the National Cricket Academy for aligning with the rebel league and had barred all the 44 defecting players from playing for India or at the domestic level.
The decisions were taken in Mumbai at a special General Body Meeting which also decided to substantially hike the match fees for first class players and increase the prize money for domestic tournaments to Rs 4.2 crores, in stark contrast to Rs. 60 lakhs being given earlier.
Greed has no limits. The more people earn, their appetite gets bigger and bigger. In fact, they never seem content with what they have. Some big earning Pakistani cricketers are clearly following a similar path. These stars have signed up to play for the Indian Cricket League (ICL), a move that would bring them a fortune.
By tying a knot with the so far unauthorised league, they have strengthened the general perception that some cricketers can go to any extent in increasing their wealth.
Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf and Abdul Razzaq have become the first internationally recognised cricket stars to sign up with the ICL, which was almost considered a no-go area for active cricketers. Inzamam on several occasions in the recent past has shown interest to continue playing Test cricket for the country after voluntarily retiring from one-dayers following the World Cup debacle.
In fact, he was assured of selection provided he proved his fitness ahead of the home series against South Africa. But a few would have known about his negotiations with the ICL that were going on side by side to his lofty claims of having an urge to stay in the national team.
Razzaq was the only player among the probables list of 20, trained recently in a three-phase camp, who has shown weariness. In fact, he was struggling to match others at the training camps and at one point almost had decided to quit it. He was the most unimpressive of the players during the twenty20 trial matches, meant for selection of the national team for next month’s Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa.
Inzamam and Razzaq were surely facing an uncertain future as far as their international careers were concerned. Their decision to join the ICL was more or less understandable, as they would have faced a stiff competition from emerging young talent in an effort to earn a place in future national teams.
It was, however, Mohammad Yousuf’s decision that shook the cricket fraternity around the globe. The experienced right-handed batsman is at the peak of his Test career. Though not 100 per cent fit, he still has a few years of international cricket left in him.
Yousuf surely is a class act and he proved that in 2006 when he broke the record for scoring most Test runs in a calendar year. There were apprehensions that he might follow in the footsteps of Inzamam in joining the league. He was reminded time and again by the selectors not to think of any unauthorised league, as the nation’s cricket needed him. Yousuf, on the contrary, fell for the lust of money, setting aside the interest of the country that gave him a name and honour.
Unlike most cricketers, Yousuf did not have to struggle a lot to get into the national side and was called up for the national camp in 1996-97 even before he had played his first first-class match. Since then he has been the mainstay of the Pakistan batting. During the course of the years, he won the fans’ hearts with his splendid batting performances. His supporters still like him to stay on the national scene as playing for the ICL would hardly earn him that praise.
Yousuf has recently embraced Islam and is often seen setting out on ‘Tablighee’ trips, preaching others the lessons of contentment. One wonders how he would deliver his sermons in the future when he himself has fallen prey to the lust of money.
It has been learnt that he would earn around Rs80 million in the next three years for playing in the Indian Cricket League. It is almost double the amount a top player would earn while playing for his country in the same period.
Besides the money contracted players earn, they also get participation fees, winning bonuses and other financial gains off and on. Players like Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif are still resisting even more lucrative offers from the ICL, knowing very well that representing Pakistan has a different charm and value.
It is also time for the International Cricket Council (ICC) to take a definite stance on the ICL to avoid another Kerry Packer league like situation in the coming years. Almost 60 top cricketers including eight Pakistanis stayed out of international cricket in the late seventies after they decided to play for the late Australian business tycoon.
However, at that time cricketers used to earn peanuts for playing Test cricket, cricket was not as commercialised as it is today. In contrast, the cricketing stars of today earn billions and in this light it was not surprising when a leading cricketer revealed only on Friday that he had a whopping Rs500 million in his kitty. What else are today’s cricketers looking for?
Life Ban For Pakistani Players Joining Indian Cricket League, Says PCB’s Chief Operating Officer Shafqat Naghmi
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in a sharp reaction to the news of four key Pakistan players joining the Indian Cricket League (ICL) on Monday, said they will be subjected to life bans for their action while utmost efforts will be made to persuade middle-order batsman Mohammad Yousuf to change his mind.
Yousuf alongwith former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, opener Imran Farhat and all-rounder Abdul Razzaq have reportedly joined the ICL.
“Yousuf is our key batsman, a national asset and the team needs him. We will make all efforts to convince him to change the mind even if he has joined the ICL,” PCB’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Shafqat Naghmi said.
Not appearing too bothered by the decision of the other three players, Naghmi said he was confident that Yousuf could not have signed the contract with the ICL.
“Yousuf is a wise man and sincere to the country. I believe he will not make any decision against the country’s interest,” he said.
Asked how PCB could impose life bans on the defecting players, Naghmi said the constitution allowed the board to take such decision.
When reminded about the absence of any constitution in the board for the last eight years, Naghmi said it was only suspended to impose the ad hoc on the PCB and the board could take directions from the existing constitution.
Defending the decision of imposing life ban on players, Naghmi said since the PCB made a lot of investment on every player, it had the right to use their talent for the country’s cricket. But if anyone preferred his own interest over the country the PCB had the right to impose a ban on him.
Naghmi said all procedures will be in place prior to imposing life ban on the players. However, he added that the board will have to confirm the validity of the news before taking any decision.
“After completing the process, all such cases will be put before the PCB ad hoc committee to take a final decision.”
Naghmi also dismissed suggestions that the four players were forced to join the ICL after getting snubbed by the national selection committee in the Twenty20 World Cup.
“The Indian cricket board has also sidelined Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar from the Twenty-20 Cup. South Africa has dropped Kallis while Kiwi skipper Stephen Fleming has been left out also. So if we preferred those who suit this demanding form of cricket, I think there’s nothing wrong with it,” he emphasised.
Advertisers are delighted over the list of players drafted by the Indian Cricket League for its domestic cricket tourney, a list which includes the big-hitting Lance Klusener, the pugnacious Inzamam-ul-Haq and the dangerous Abdul Razzaq.
“The immediate list is rather impressive, much better than most people had expected. And if they manage to sustain this, I see ICL becoming quite a rage in the country. After all, Rome was not built in a day, and when the floodgates open, I’m sure a lot more acclaimed cricketers will join the league,” said Lodestar Universal CEO Shashi Sinha. Continue reading
Allrounder Abdul Razzaq quit international cricket yesterday after selectors left him out of Pakistan’s squad for next month’s Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.”I believe that they [selectors] wanted to drop me from Test and one-day international cricket as well, so as a protest I am quitting international cricket,” Razzaq, 27, told broadcaster GEO TV from London.
Pakistan selectors omitted Razzaq and seasoned middle-order batsman Mohammad Yousuf from its 15-man Twenty20 squad.
“There can be a reconciliation, but the [Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)] has to listen to the grievances of the players,” Razzaq said. “Why is the board acting like this with players, trying to get rid of all the seniors?”
PCB chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed dismissed Razzaq’s claims saying: “The team for the Twenty20 World Championship was picked purely on merit.”
“I still believe that Razzaq has a future in Pakistan cricket and he should reconsider his decision,” Ahmed added.
Razzaq is one of three players, along with Yousuf and Younis Khan, who have yet to sign central contracts with the PCB — offered to 20 cricketers. He is also linked with the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL), but stressed that his retirement from international cricket had nothing to do with the unofficial Twenty20 league.
“The ICL has nothing to do with my retirement decision, I have taken this decision because I was dropped from Twenty20 World Championship,” Razzaq said. “I have an offer from [ICL] but I have not confirmed it yet. I will decide only in the next few days.”
Razzaq has featured in 46 Test matches, taking 100 wickets with his right-arm medium fast bowling and scoring 1,946 runs. He captured 246 wickets and made 4,465 runs in 231 limited-overs internationals.
England bowler Ryan Sidebottom will not play in the first one-day international against India today because of a side strain.
The left-arm swing bowler was injured in the drawn third Test between the teams two weeks ago. He was unable to bowl in India’s second innings.
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As more and more players join Subhash Chandra’s Indian Cricket League (ICL), the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in India has threatened the players. When the matter was raised in Parliament, BCCI President Sharad Pawar reacted sharply in defence.
However, the board may now be forced to shed some of its insouciance. Advertisers and markets, the lifeline of all sporting events, have begun to look at ICL as an opportunity. On an average, international cricket matches featuring India cost between Rs 1-2 lakh for a 10-second commercial spot, depending on the channel and the team India plays. However, for Chandra’s league, the cost is expected to be half of that amount.
The league kicks off in October this year with a tournament of 20-overs-a-side matches that will be telecast on the sports channel owned by Chandra’s Zee Networks, Zee Sports, and the winner will receive $1 million as prize money.
Advertisers looking at the league include consumer durables maker s Videocon and LG, fast-moving consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever and even telecom service providers. These firms have some of the biggest advertising budgets in corporate India.
“We are definitely interested in associating ourselves with ICL. A committee is already in place and negotiations are on,” said Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot.
Agrees Rahul Welde, general manager, media services, Hindustan Unilever, “We are exploring ways to associate with the league. If our consumers are interested in the Twenty20 format, we will definitely associate ourselves with the league.”
LG’s marketing head Sandeep Tiwari said the league was a vertical integration of cricket into a shorter and faster format. Future Brands CEO Santosh Desai added that anything to do with cricket would always find a market, unless it was mired in a dead format like Ranji and Duleep trophies.
There is also opinion that companies whose budgets are not big enough to sponsor cricket will find another avenue through ICL.
According to Manish Porwal, managing director India (west and south) of Starcom, the media buying outfit of communications giant Publicis Groupe, “The league provides a fantastic opportunity for corporates who want to invest in the game but do not have the mega bucks to bag title sponsorship deals in international cricket.”
He pointed out that 90 per cent of the eyeballs for cricket in India was focused on international cricket, but expressed confidence that this would change. “The domestic cricket does not generate the amount of interest an international match does. ICL will reduce the gap.”
Some express immense faith in Chandra. “He is a man who has a stomach for risks. All his ideas have been successful till now and I am sure that even this league will be successful. I am betting my money on him,” said Meenakshi Madhvani, managing partner with media audit firm, Spatial Access.
Others were positive but non-committal. “Our clients are definitely interested and we are in discussions with Zee,” said the head of a media buying agency who did not want to be named. The agency head declined to give specific names, saying that deals were still under discussion, but said there were advertisers across categories.
Even as the advertising industry feels that cricket will never have a problem of money in India, ICL has its task cut out. “Money will pour in but the size of the deals will be smaller. ICL still has to prove itself. It still has to play its first tournament. The new format definitely has takers but the money invested will depend on the performance,” said an executive from PDM sports, a leading sports marketing agency.
- South African All-Rounder Jacques Kallis Rejects Indian Cricket League Offer
- YOUNUS EXPLAINS ICL REJECTION
- ICC not to intervene, says ICL is BCCI’s internal matter
- Cricket and money: Greed has no limits
- Life Ban For Pakistani Players Joining Indian Cricket League, Says PCB’s Chief Operating Officer Shafqat Naghmi
- Yousuf, Klusener join ICL bandwagon
- Indian cricket’s in a league of its own
- Razzaq quits cricket after being left out of Twenty20 team
- Indian Cricket League – ICL News
- Indian Cricket League scores with advertisers
- Bengal big fish on ICL radar, Sriram in
- Support ICL says NZ Players Association