Indian Cricket League moves into overdrive ~ Cricket Blog - THE COMMENTARY BOX

Monday, August 20, 2007

Indian Cricket League moves into overdrive

While the people at the BCCI continue to vigorously try and thwart the progress of the Indian Cricket League, the ICL chiefs themselves seem to be pretty busy going about gathering new recruits into their constantly increasing fold.

Hitherto, the recruits had mainly been retired players from around the world which made Sharad Pawar point out the 'futility' of the exercise because according to him people would not want to watch old players battling on a cricket field and would rather prefer watching some fresh blood doing the job. Well, Sharad Pawar better think up some other excuse to term the ICL as futile because the ICL has now shifted gears and seems to be going on an expansive recruitment drive covering not just young domestic cricket players in India but also players from Sri Lanka and Pakistan as well. As expected, this has caused quite a flutter among the respective cricket boards.

While the BCCI had already served a ban from playing any Ranji or International cricket matches on any player who chose to team up with the ICL, the Pakistan and Sri Lankan boards too have done the same with their players. Infact I am mildly surprised that so many from the Ranji arena have shown interest in the Indian Cricket League inspite of the ban. Clearly, that points to two things: there is big money on the cards and the pull of the Twenty20 format and just the thrill of being involved in something radically different is too much to resist.

To say more about the enforced ban, it doesn't seem very practical to me in the long term. Say, someone like Ambati Rayudu, who became the first Ranji player to sign up for the Indian Cricket League, blossoms impressively in the ICL games. Now, given that these games will involve high profile and high quality players a good performance will undoubtedly point towards some talent in Rayudu. In that case, can the selectors still resist selecting such a promising player into the International squad? After all the ultimate goal for the Indian team is victory, ban or not.

Infact, according to Subhash Chandra, the man behind the League, the main purpose of the ICL itself is to serve as a 'laboratory for innovation' wherein players can be tried and tested before throwing them into the international scene. So, will the BCCI ever start seeing the League as a laboratory rather than as mere competition? Only time should tell.

In any case, it will be very exciting to find out what the Indian Cricket League could offer to Indian Cricket. Go ICL!

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