High-profile owners of team franchises in the Indian Premier League have reacted furiously to the Indian cricket board’s decision to snap ties with event management company IMG, reports said on Monday.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday terminated its contract with the International Management Group, which helped it launch the lucrative Twenty20 league in 2008.
Business tycoon Mukesh Ambani and Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, both owners of IPL franchisees, have shot off angry letters to the BCCI.
“I am personally shocked at the unilateral decision of doing away with the services of IMG,” the Times of India quoted Ambani, who owns the Mumbai Indians team, as saying in his letter.
“It is also worrying to me that such a significant decision in relation to IPL has been taken without even so much as consulting the franchises.
“I strongly believe that this decision, if taken forward, will destroy substantial value for all the stakeholders, especially the franchises and dilute the success of IPL in the coming years.”
Kolkata Knight Riders owner Khan said IMG had been “an integral part of the tournament management and its success so far” and questioned the logic of the board in ending the deal.
The BCCI had entered into a preliminary agreement with IMG in 2008 to promote and manage IPL’s affairs. IMG was to be paid 10 per cent of the tournament’s gross revenue as commission.
But the board felt the amount was “disproportionate to services rendered”.
Late England pace great Brian Statham was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame at Old Trafford in Manchester.
Statham’s widow, Audrey, accepted her late husband’s commemorative cap as part of the joint venture between the ICC and the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) on Sunday.
Statham represented England in 70 Test matches taking a total of 252 wickets and was regarded as one of England’s
greatest bowlers. He appeared in 559 first-class matches for Lancashire taking 2,260 wickets in a career that lasted 18
years, the ICC said in a statement.
Statham captained Lancashire from 1965 to 1967 and took 761 of his 2,260 first-class wickets at Old Trafford, and
Lancashire has since named one end of the ground after the former fast bowler.
Statham featured in an England side that included two other Hall of Fames, Fred Trueman and Sir Colin Cowdrey. His
best Test match haul was against South Africa in June 1960 when he took 11-97 at Lord’s.
Statham died in 2000.
Further cap presentations will be made during the course of the year and a limited number of new inductees, in addition to the 55 already chosen, will be named at this year’s ICC Awards.
Former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq Friday lashed out at Pakistan for making a U-turn on selecting cricketers from an unrecognised Indian league and succumbing to “pressure.”
Pakistan selectors Monday named three rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) players — Abdul Razzaq, Rana Naved-ul Hasan and Imran Nazir — in a preliminary 30-man squad for the Twenty20 World Cup in England in June.
The selectors said the trio were included subject to clearance from the International Cricket Council (ICC).
But the next day, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) dropped the trio, saying they were not included in the 30-man list sent to the ICC.
The PCB has sought clarification from the ICL on the status of Pakistani players’ contracts before taking a final decision on their inclusion.
Inzamam criticised the sudden about-turn.
“I think the PCB succumbed to the pressure from the ICC. If there were rules barring the PCB not to include the ICL players then why didn’t our board know these rules,” Inzamam told AFP.
The ICL — bankrolled in 2007 by India’s largest media Group, Zee television — was not recognised by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the ICC and players taking part in it were barred by member countries.
The high court in Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh, however, cleared all Pakistani players in the rebel league last February, paving the way for their return to domestic cricket and into contention for the national side.
Inzamam said ICL players would strengthen the national side.
“Why is Pakistan taking pressure from the ICC and the BCCI? If they include ICL players then our team will become very strong and will perform better.
“Look at India. Pakistan and India were standing at the same place in 2007 after we both were knocked out of the World Cup (in West Indies) in the first round but with ICL and IPL (Indian Premier League) they have gained a lot.”
Inzamam accused the ICC of fearing private leagues because of the threat to sponsorships.
“I see only one reason for the ICC’s opposition to the ICL and that is they have to share finances as private leagues also take away sponsorhips, which is a danger for them,” said Inzamam.
Inzamam, who retired from international cricket in 2007, lamanted the ban.
“Why are we keeping ICL players away from international cricket? It’s unjust and I hope the PCB reviews its decision. We must fight for the cause beneficial for us,” said Inzamam.
The ICC said it would discuss the ICL issue at its executive board meeting in Dubai on April 17 and 18.
Just disassociating themselves from the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) won’t fetch the ICL-bound Pakistani players a berth in the national team as they risk the prospect of facing penalties once again before being cleared for national duty.
A senior official of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said although some of the ICL players had informed the PCB that they were ready to end their association with the ICL to play for Pakistan again, the matter was now under the consideration of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
“We have written to the ICC for legal and other advise because the ICL was an unauthorised tournament and under existing regulations there are penalties for taking part in an unauthorised event although one might have decided to leave it,” PCB chief operating officer (COO) Saleem Altaf said on Tuesday.
He pointed out that in the past also there were examples in other countries of players being penalised for taking part in unauthorised events.
“They are lot of legal ramifications involved and we see it as a subjudice matter. So we don’t want to make anymore comments but wait and see what advise we get,” Altaf said.
The PCB COO confirmed that senior batsman, Mohammad Yousuf and some other players have expressed their desire to play for the national team again.
The ICL was passing through some tough times due to the global economic slump down. The organisers are yet to announce the schedule of this season’s tournament, and said they are ready to release their existing contracted players to make them available for national selection.
The monetary situation of the rebel league is so grim that the players have alleged that they have not received their payments for the last seven months.
The PCB had banned the players who joined the ICL from playing domestic as well as international cricket as the league was not given official recognition by the ICC or its member boards.
But in February the Sindh High Court had allowed the players to take part in domestic cricket after they appealed against the ban.
Altaf, however, said the PCB had to look at many aspects of the issue, but obviously it wanted its best players to be available for the country.
“How this will happen or what method has to be adopted we haven’t decided yet,” he said.
He also pointed out that until now the ICL had not made it clear whether they were going to release the Pakistani players without any legal hitches.
Four days before the third Test against India, the Indian Cricket League (ICL) confirmed that some of its New Zealand recruits would forego their contracts making them eligible for a return to mainstream cricket. Some Pakistani players too are giving up the rebel league for the same reason.
Due to the time difference between India and New Zealand, no one from New Zealand Cricket could be contacted but ICL sources hinted at the possibility of some Kiwi players being fast-tracked into returning to the national team. Among New Zealand’s ICL players are Shane Bond and Daryl Tuffey.
“We are proud to give these players an opportunity to play for the their countries,” said Kapil Dev, ICL director. “Unlike some other boards, we are against the idea of denying players the chance to represent their country,” he said, in obvious reference to the BCCI, which is vehemently against the ‘rebel’ league.
Without talking about the possibility of Bond or Tuffey playing for New Zealand immediately, ICL official Roland Landers confirmed that some players have forgone their contracts.
“If players want to take this route to play for their countries, we will not restrict them. We have never restricted them from playing anywhere anyway.”
Landers said that barring “some players” from New Zealand and Pakistan, players from no other country have opted out of their ICL contracts and that the next edition of the T20 meet will be held in October. The one slated for March was cancelled due to the economic meltdown.
On Monday, a PTI report from Karachi quoted Abdul Razzaq as saying that the ICL has terminated contracts of all Pakistani players and would issue ‘no objection certificates’ (NoC) this week to enable them to play elsewhere, including the national team.
Merely ending his contract with the rebel Indian Cricket League will not be enough for Mohd Yousuf to return to the Pakistan team as the PCB has made it clear that the senior batsman will have to give certain “guarantees” before becoming eligible for national selection.
The conditions include that Yousuf terminate his ICL contract, give in writing he will not align with any other body without the permission of the board and will not demand any compensation in return for ending his ties with the ICL.
Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ejaz Butt discussed these conditions with Yousuf in a meeting at the Gaddafi stadium on Friday after the batsman said he was willing to end his contract with the ICL if considered for national selection.
Butt made it clear that while he was also keen to see the senior player back in the team but certain issues had to be sorted out.
“It is not a simple matter and we are looking into it. But I have told Yousuf that he has to meet certain conditions and give guarantees first to be considered for national selection,” he said.
Yousuf has been banned since last year from playing for Pakistan after he joined the ICL, which is not recognised by the International Cricket Council or its member boards.
The Sindh High Court last month allowed Yousuf and other ICL players to play domestic cricket but the ban on them representing the country remains in place.
The ICL had filed a case against Yousuf after he walked out of a contract with them in 2007 before finally joining them again last year claiming he was frustrated at being mistreated by former captain Shoaib Malik and the PCB.
After meeting Butt, Yousuf told reporters that he wants the PCB to include his name in the list of probables for the forthcoming one-day series against Australia and also for the Twenty20 World Cup in England.
“I have discussed my future with other senior players and then decided to be available for Pakistan again. I am keen to play for my country and now the rest is up to the board,” he said.
However, Butt made it clear that Yousuf will have to pass a fitness test like all other players and be cleared by the selectors to play for Pakistan once again.
Yousuf, who has played 79 Tests and 269 one-dayers, is considered one of Pakistan’s top players and is said to have been convinced to leave the ICL by captain Younis Khan.
Indications are that the PCB will first get approval from the ICC before allowing Yousuf back into the team. The move could pave the way for other ICL-aligned cricketers to play for the national team once again.
There was a new twist in Pakistan’s ace batsman Mohammad Yousuf’s unending saga with the Indian Cricket League, on Monday. Interestingly, Yousuf left for New Delhi even as the Pakistan Cricket Board selectors decided to name him in the squad for the ODI series against the West Indies scheduled in Abu Dhabi next week.
Though PCB has termed it as a private visit, rumours about him joining the league have gained momentum. Speaking on the development, ICL executive board member Bharat Reddy said, “You will come to know about the league’s official stand tomorrow.”
But when pressed further, he nodded and said, “It’s very likely.”
Yousuf has had a bittersweet relationship with the league, with him being involved in a legal wrangle for breach of contract.
The middle-order batsman, who had signed up for the league in August 2007, failed to abide by his contractual obligations and decided to return his advance payment only to join the rival Indian Premier League. As a result, the ICL filed a case against him in Mumbai, which is still pending.
PTI adds from Karachi: Indian Premier League official and former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah has threatened to take legal course against Yousuf if the Pakistani batsman returned to the ICL fold.