BCCI distaste for ICL spills beyond the field | cricket | Hindustan Times
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BCCI distaste for ICL spills beyond the field

The BCCI might be on course for yet another ICL related confrontation, this time with Sky TV, the broadcaster of New Zealand cricket. Sky has refused to delete the name of Craig McMillan from the list of commentators for the forthcoming Test series. Anand Vasu reports.

cricket Updated: Mar 16, 2009 00:04 IST
Anand Vasu

The Board of Control for Cricket in India might be on course for yet another ICL related confrontation, this time with Sky TV, the broadcaster of New Zealand cricket. Sky has refused to delete the name of Craig McMillan from the list of commentators for the forthcoming Test series.

McMillan, who plays for the Kolkata Tigers in the unrecognized ICL, is set to stand-in for Ravi Shastri, who will be flying home to India on personal work and will miss the second Test match. The BCCI has stridently opposed the participation of players with ICL links in official cricket in any capacity. Already, earlier in the tour, Sachin Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik were withdrawn from a Masters Twenty20 match at the last moment because of the participation of Hamish Marshall in NZPCA XI.

Former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah, who is currently vice-chairman of the IPL, and served as administrative manager for the Twenty20 and ODIs made the board’s stand clear in an interview to a local TV channel. “As far as we are concerned, any commentator or anyone involved with an unauthorized tournament declared by the BCCI, our people will not take part in it.”

Although Shah’s words aren’t particularly confrontational given the tone of some of the anti-ICL rhetoric we have heard in the past, it is clear that the BCCI’s distaste for ICL players spreads even into the commentary box. What queers the pitch further is the fact that the series is being telecast live in India by Sony Entertainment Television (SET). McMillan’s ICL association links him with the Essel Group which owns Zee Television, competitors of SET. There are fears that McMillan could use the airtime as a commentator to publicise the ICL.

At the moment, though, Sky TV are firm in that they won’t be dictated to. Acting executive producer (Cricket) James Cameron said he was aware that a problem could arise, but was sticking with McMillan for the moment.