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Indian Twenty20 leagues war hots up

AS REBEL Twenty20 Indian Cricket League tournament chairman Kapil Dev expressed his desire to sign Australia’s elite players, the Board of Control for Cricket in India is considering an “amnesty” so the ICL’s international brigade can switch camps.

The BCCI “olive branch” approach to the likes of West Indian great Brian Lara, Australians Stuart Law and Ian Harvey, Kiwis Chris Cairns and Nathan Astle, former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq, South Africa’s Lance Klusener and Sri Lankans Russel Arnold and Marvan Atapattu is viewed as a strategy to derail the breakaway league.

If the players accept the offer it will not only beef up the Indian Premier League’s “star power” which includes Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke, Brett Lee and Michael Hussey — but also pave the way for them to win the mind-boggling revenue from the subcontinent’s lucrative pay-TV market.

“We could allow the foreign players to play in the Indian Premier League if they terminate their contracts with ICL,” BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla told reporters in India.

Dev said the ICL remained committed to luring the best possible players to the made-for-TV competition. “We are basically feeding international cricket,” Dev told The Sunday Age.

“We are only trying to increase the amount of cricket being played. If anyone is nervous, I’m very sorry.

“We’ll welcome everybody. We want more cricketers from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia. We want the best of the best here.

“We don’t want to spoil cricket, we don’t intend to upset the international calendar.

“The ICC should be happy with what we’re trying to do. We aren’t trying to offend anyone, we are simply increasing the amount of cricket,” Dev said.

The ICL has suggested it will up the ante by taking the modified version of the game to North America, where there is a large number of students and workers from many of the cricket-playing nations like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The rebel league was founded by the owner of Zee TV after he was denied the official broadcasting rights to Tests and one-dayers, despite offering substantially more than the station that got the licence.

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