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Saturday, September 8, 2007

BCCI shouldn’t be in power brokers’ hands: Bombay HC

Observing that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should be in “the hands of sportspersons and sports lovers”, the Bombay High Court today, while disposing of a public interest litigation (PIL), said the board “should not become a tool for musclemen, merchants or media barons and power-brokers”.

The PIL was filed against the election of Lalit Modi as a vice-president of the BCCI by a 71-year-old cricket-lover, Chandravardhan Parekh. Parekh contended that Modi couldn’t continue as vice-president as he was accused of “an offence involving moral turpitude”, having being found in possession of drugs, kidnapping and assault. (See box).

Asking the state to take note of the allegations made in the petition, the court said that the state cannot remain a “silent spectator to the power game” and would have to ultimately “use its power and authority to check the mismanagement and mal-administration” in the BCCI.

The court, however, did not wish to go into the aspect of whether or not Modi could be disqualified on that ground alone as there is a civil writ petition and arbitration proceedings filed in the Supreme Court and that the matter is sub-judice.

Declaring the PIL “maintainable”, the division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S C Dharmadhikari said the board, which is in charge of enormous funds and is conferred with “drastic powers” to control, monitor, manage and administer the game, should have officers who are “persons of calibre and character” so as to not “shake the faith and trust of the cricket loving public and common man”.

The court said: “The board should not become a tool for musclemen, merchants or media barons and power-brokers”.

The court directed the BCCI to take care that “those involved in criminal cases not just relating to illegal drugs but other serious charges have no place in the administration”.

The High Court said the purity and sanctity of an electoral process should be preserved at all costs and “ought not to be fought on party lines... Elections ought to be conducted in the same spirit in which the game of cricket is played.”

Friday, September 7, 2007

Kapil tells fashion designers to work for ICL

Legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev was yesterday spotted at the 10th edition of the Wills India Fashion Week as it kicked off at a brand new venue of Pragati Maidan.

The former Indian captain was invited by Anjana Bhargav, one of the 40 designers showcasing their spring summer collection during the five-day event.

Kapil was so impressed by the works of the designers that he offered them to design outfits for the newly launched rebel Indian Cricket League, in which he is the Chairman of the Executive Board.

"I like everybody's work. In cricket comfort is very essential. If the clothes are good to look at and there is no restriction of movement that is fashion for me," he said.

"I would tell every designer to design for the the ICL. Every designer has talent. Every designer is different and has a niche segment," he added.

Kapil also drew similarity between designers and cricketers.

"There are so many designers and every designer has talent. Just like there are thouands of cricketers in the country who are waiting to play for the country, so also there are so many designers with so much of talent.

"This is like the World Cup Final," said Kapil, when asked to comment on the ongoing fashion extravaganza.

"This is the first day. Let me have a look around and let me study the fashion week. And perhaps by next year I would be able to make an informed judgement about the event.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

PCB dropped charges after Shoaib threatened to join ICL

Disciplinary charges and penalties against Pakistan’s erratic pacer Shoaib Akhtar were recently dropped after the enigmatic speedster threatened to join the Indian Cricket League (ICL), sources revealed here.

Shoaib had left a training camp here last month without informing the manager even though the pacer claimed he had informed captain Shoaib Malik. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) subsequently fined him approximately $ 5,000 and docked points from his central contract. Shoaib appealed against the punishment and eventually a PCB appeal committee upheld his plea.

A well-placed source said that it was only after the pacer had threatened to join ICL that the committee decided to drop the charges against him.

The source also revealed that some other players are also been creating pressure on the Board, claiming they have multi-million dollar offers from the rebel Indian league.

Shoaib has already claimed that he had rejected an increased offer of close to $ 2 million to sign for three years in the league, while pacer Mohammad Asif put his offer figure at around $ 1.3 million with all-rounder Shahid Afridi also quoting similar figures. Most of these, however, are exaggerated, the source said.

“The figures being quoted by some Pakistani cricketers are inflated to a big extent. What I know is that approaches were made to some players to play in the league but no definite offers,” the source said. “The highest fee is being paid to former West Indian skipper, Brian Lara followed by Inzamam who is getting around $ 250,000 dollars for a season,” he said. He also disclosed that it was unrealistic to expect the ICL organisers and their main backer, Zee Telefilms, to pay such huge amounts to sign players.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Hall set to join ICL

South African Andrew Hall is set to join the Indian Cricket League after snapping ties with the national side following his omission from the Twenty 20 squad for the World Championship starting in the country next week.

It is understood that the 32-year-old all-rounder will join Nicky Boje and Lance Klusener, who were recently named to join the rebel outfit.

Hall has submitted a letter to Cricket South Africa on Friday about his international retirement.

South African Cricket Association CEO Tony Irish said he was completely surprised by the action of Hall.

"Usually, I'm aware of what a player's thinking and they consult me", said Irish.

"But this came out of the blue. I was told today by CSA about the resignation and immediately contacted Andrew. He made it clear to me that his decision was not up for debate. I told him that I was concerned about the way he had handled the matter and said I was disappointed with his attitude."

Hall has kept quiet on the issue, but media reports here indicate that he is "raving mad" about being left out of the Twenty20 squad.

Meanwhile, Jacques Kallis, who resigned from vice-captaincy after being dropped from the Twenty20 squad, is to hold another meeting with CSA CEO Gerald Majola on Tuesday about his availability for national duty.

Kallis met Majola in Johannesburg yesterday but details of the discussion have not been given.

A brief media statement said the two had "a good and positive" discussion and another meeting would be held on Tuesday.

"It was a good and positive meeting. Jacques has asked for a bit of time to think things over and we will have a follow-up meeting on Tuesday after which an appropriate statement will be issued", said Majola.

Kallis has already indicated that he remains fully committed to South African cricket and the Proteas.

Related Post

ICC won't bat for league, throws its weight behind BCCI
Karachi club offers to host ICL matches
HC orders BCCI not to act against ICL players
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Thursday, August 30, 2007

ICC won't bat for league, throws its weight behind BCCI

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday reiterated its support to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) stating that it will not back the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL) until it is approved by the country’s official cricket administration.

“BCCI is the only recognised body by the ICC to run official cricket in India. We have not got any application from the ICL (for recognition) yet, but we have already set a five-step process to decide on such issues,” said Malcolm Speed, CEO, ICC.

Mr Speed said the first four steps in the process of approving a tournament by a private body were: Whether it’s run for the development of the game or for charitable purpose; who were all playing in it and whether the players were all contracted to their parent boards; when and where they are to be played and whether anti-corruption measures were put in place to run the event.

It is only after all these steps “we will find out whether it has the approval of the member board,” he added. Describing the fifth stage he said, “In the last stage, we will be asking the applicants whether the member board of the country has approved it. If the answer is no, we would not give it our recognition.”

Mr Speed talked of an instance in the past of a tournament planned last year in the USA which was shot down by the ICC for not fulfilling the criteria he had mentioned. However, ICL seemed unaffected by ICC’s stand.

An ICL spokesperson told ET, “We have never approached the ICC to recognise us, and the question of the ICC’s acceptance or non-acceptance has no meaning as they themselves have no legal status. We have always maintained that we would be a parallel body, so how can a rival club look at giving us any kind of authenticity.”

He added, “The BCCI themselves have admitted that they are a private club, who have no legal entity. So, the question of they looking at us as a recognised body doesn’t arise at all.”

The breakaway league, promoted by Subhash Chandra, plans to hold Twenty20 tournaments between city teams for the next three years. Former Test captains Brian Lara of the West Indies and Inzamam-ul-Haq of Pakistan are among the stars ICL has signed up for the series so far.

ICL last week filed a legal petition against the BCCI in the Delhi High court, saying the latter was a private body and could not have monopoly over running cricket in India.

Related Post

Karachi club offers to host ICL matches
HC orders BCCI not to act against ICL players
ICL bowls legal beamer at BCCI
BCCI's raw deal made me join ICL: Prasanna
Don’t join the ICL, NZC tells Fleming
Losing players to ICL a big blow: Vinod
Butcher denies ICL link, Ramprakash not on radar
ICL questions BCCI’s use of national icons

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Karachi club offers to host ICL matches

A prestigious country club in Pakistan, which has been a favourite haunt for visiting cricketers including the Indians, has offered to host matches of the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL).

An official offer has been made by the Arabian Country Club, located on the outskirts of Karachi with a private cricket ground and five-star accommodation, gymnasium and other facilities for its members.

“We just want to promote cricket wherever it is played. We see nothing wrong with the ICL,” said Arif Ali Abbasi, chief executive of the club. Abbasi, who has held several influential positions in Pakistan cricket, said the ICL people had been “overjoyed” at the offer but nothing was final as yet.

“If they want to come and play some matches, we will welcome them and then the mechanics of how the teams will gather in Karachi can be worked out properly,” said Abbasi.

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Losing players to ICL a big blow: Vinod
Butcher denies ICL link, Ramprakash not on radar
ICL questions BCCI’s use of national icons

HC orders BCCI not to act against ICL players

The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to stop intimidating cricketers who have joined the Indian Cricket League (ICL). The court also restrained public-sector undertakings from taking action against players who have aligned with the league.

While passing the interim order - hailed as 'victory for cricket' by some experts - Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked public-sector firms, including Air India and IOC, not to dismiss its ICL-affiliated employees.

Essel Sports, the promoter of ICL, had moved the court to restrain BCCI, headed by NCP leader Sharad Pawar, from intimidating its players.

ICL's lawyer Harish Salve said that two PSUs had served termination notices to their executives for joining the league.

"Why should players have swords hanging over their heads?" Justice Kaul said.

Justice Kaul issued notices to the Centre, which effectively owns the PSUs, and the BCCI asking them to submit replies within three weeks.

Justice Kaul also issued notice to the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) for not allowing the ICL to use Bangalore's Chinnaswamy stadium.

BCCI officials said the court decision was not directed at them. "The court has directed the public-sector undertakings not to terminate the services or take disciplinary action against employees seeking to affiliate themselves with ICL," a BCCI official said. "There were no orders passed or relief granted against the KSCA or the BCCI."

In a statement, BCCI reiterated its stand that "every individual has a right to choose whether he wishes to associate himself with the BCCI or any other organisation." The statement said that if a player chose to associate himself with any other organisation, "he shall not be entitled to derive any benefits from the BCCI or be connected with any of its activities."

Kapil Dev, the chairman of the ICL's executive committee, refused to comment on the order.

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ICL questions BCCI’s use of national icons

Monday, August 27, 2007

ICL bowls legal beamer at BCCI

The tussle between Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Indian Cricket League (ICL) reached the courts on Friday. The Subhash Chandra-promoted breakaway cricket body has moved the Delhi High Court seeking to restrain the board from allegedly “intimidating” its players. ICL has also sought permission to use cricket stadiums across the country for its tournaments.

ICL’s lawsuit has urged the court to prevent BCCI from stopping pensions to players who have joined its fold. It also said BCCI should be restrained from using the Indian flag and the country’s name as it has accepted before the Supreme Court that it is a private body.

The newly-formed rebel body has pleaded that no player or state affiliate should be intimidated by BCCI for changing alliance. The court is expected to hear the matter on Monday. Reacting to the development, BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi told ET: “Big deal! So many people file suits against us, this is yet another one. We are yet to receive the plaint yet. Once we have a look at it, we will decide our course of action.”

ICL’s lawsuit comes in the wake of BCCI sacking Kapil Dev as chairman of the National Cricket Academy and barring players who have defected from playing domestic and international cricket representing India. The board also announced its move to hike the match fees for first-class players and increased the prize money for domestic tournaments to Rs 4.2 crore.

Formed this April by Zee Group promoter Subash Chandra in collaboration with IL&FS, ICL recently announced its first pool of 51 cricketers. This included Kapil Dev as executive board chairman and foreign cricketers like Brian Lara and Inzamam-ul-Haq. ICL is expected to start matches in the Twenty20 format by October.

BCCI, in turn, is planning to float a rival league of its own, complete with international players, high-profile sponsorships and high-voltage excitement. Tipped to be called the Professional Cricket League (PCL), it will follow the same format as the Premier Hockey League and will be headed by Sunil Gavaskar.

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BCCI's raw deal made me join ICL: Prasanna

Lambasting the BCCI for 'under-utilising' his expertise in grooming spinners, legendary offie E A S Prasanna on Sunday said that he joined the Indian Cricket League as he was assured a big role in developing slow bowlers.

"Kapil Dev (ICL chairman) told me that the league wanted me to help in fulfilling one of its prime objectives - developing good spinners. I found that my objective tallied with theirs. So, I liked the idea and joined the league," Prasanna told PTI over phone.

Prasanna, who formed a lethal spin quartet in the 1960s and 1970s along with B S Bedi, B S Chandrasekhar and S Venkatraghavan for India, has been inducted into ICL executive board.

Prasanna, who is attached to the National Cricket Academy as a bowling consultant, rued that his role in the Bangalore-based academy was mere 'token'.

"My services at the NCA were under-utilised. For instance, this year, I did not get to spend any day with the NCA cadets in Bangalore.

"My duties with the NCA this season were limited to a total of 10 days - five days in Kolkata and five in Nagpur," said the 67-year-old former Test cricketer

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