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BCCI, ICL ready to play ball?

cricket Updated: Oct 15, 2008 00:00 IST
Kadambari Murali
Kadambari Murali
Hindustan Times
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It’s beginning to happen. Almost 20 years after representatives of the breakaway Kerry Packer-organised World Series Cricket and the Australian Cricket Board brokered a deal for a united front, at a Tuesday meeting in Dubai, BCCI president Shashank Manohar informed the International Cricket Council that the Indian cricket board and the banned Indian Cricket League were ready to talk.

Even as an ICC statement said: “Manohar agreed to provide the Board with a full written report of those discussions in due course,” ICL business head Himanshu Mody told HT, “I am hopeful about the outcome of the meetings, scheduled in the next few days.”

Sources say top ICL officials might go to Delhi as early as Wednesday evening to meet BCCI officials going to Mohali for the India-Australia Test via Delhi.

The reason for the turn of events is not clear— though it is believed other boards didn’t want to run the risk of disputes arising from the bans on players — it reportedly comes on the back of a secret meeting between former BCCI president Sharad Pawar and Subhash Chandra, the man behind the ICL, here last Monday.

An ICL source said their agenda, yet to be finalised, would be fairly straight: "Don't ban players, remove the ban on player pensions, allow us access to grounds… that's basic stuff," he said. Asked what implications this had for the ICL's equation with the hugely successful Indian Premier League, he replied, "At this point, nothing. We can agree not to clash in the seasons. In US professional basketball for instance, the western conference and eastern conference teams play separately and the champions then play each other."

There's a small difference though, both conferences are run by the same organisation, the NBA.