Thursday, 30 August 2007

Ben on...the ICL

I've been wanting to post about the Indian Cricket League since it was first announced. At the time I thought the idea of a rival cricket tournament was quite exciting. The ICC were in the process of grossly mismanaging the World Cup and the BCCI had been turning into the bully of the world cricket playground. Even if the whole purpose behind the ICL was to simply make money for a media kingpin disappointed at missing out on TV rights, I was happy to see the possibility that these two arrogant, venal organisations might get black eyes.

However, every time I started to make a post, the fortunes of the ICL would plummet, making my post irrelevant. But every time it seemed like they were sunk, they would sign some important player or overcome some hurdle or there would be some other twist, and suddenly the ICL would have new life. When Lalu Prasad Yadav gets involved in an issue in India, it has officially become a farce.

The story in New Zealand has also run something of a roller coaster, with Fleming being approached, Chris Harris signing then not signing, retired cricketers being possible signings, fears that the ICL will strip New Zealand of its talent, rumours of Shane Bond being offered $600,000 and then NZC being set to support the ICL. Now today, NZC has made their position clear, with a statement that they will not support the ICL. (There are also a suggestion that any contracted players will be hit with breach of contract suits if they join the ICL.)

This statement clears things up considerably. Not completely however, as we still don't know the intentions of the contracted players that might have been approached. (And there are hints that Fleming at least is seriously considering it. The article I linked to above about the breach of contract suits suggests that some officials want Fleming punished for not committing to NZ cricket.) It would be a great shame if any contracted Black Caps joined the ICL. I like Richard Boock's suggestion: if they want to play in a "tinpot Twenty20 circus alongside other has-beens and wanna-bes", then let him go. Surely the negative reaction they'd get from their New Zealand fans and the complete downer of finishing their career in a shoddy sideshow of a tournament would be punishment enough.

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