After JP Yadav, Sridharan Sriram became the second former India international to join the Indian Cricket League (ICL), sources said on Saturday. Sriram has played eight one-day internationals.
The rumour mills are now working overtime in domestic cricket circles and the latest buzz is that a slew of players from Bengal including skipper Deep Dasgupta, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Rohan Gavaskar and left-arm spinner Shiv Sagar Singh could be unveiled at a media conference next week as some of the ICL's domestic big fish.
Medium-pacer Shib Shankar Paul, part of India's squad to Bangladesh in 2004-05, and Bengal off-spinner Sourasish Lahiri too were approached but sources said they would possibly turn down the offer. All Bengal players refused to comment on the issue.
On Saturday though, Sriram, who played for Tamil Nadu for over a decade and turned out for Maharashtra last season, and Tamil Nadu's D. Devendran joined the ICL. Like Hyderabad bowler Alfred Absolem, the hard-hitting Devendran is a relative newcomer to the domestic circuit.
Absolem, a right-hand batsman and a right-arm medium-pacer, played six Ranji Trophy matches for Hyderabad and claimed 30 wickets at less than 20 a piece. He took seven wickets to help Hyderabad defeat Mumbai in the Super League last season. Devendran, a right-hand opening batsman, is regarded a Twenty20 specialist. He played a vital role in Tamil Nadu's title triumph in the inaugural Twenty20 national championship. Devendran, who strikes the ball clean and long, scored 285 runs in 10 matches for Tamil Nadu, including two half-centuries.
Speculation was also rife that Andhra Pradesh players were being approached and that captain and former India wicket-keeper MSK Prasad would join. Prasad admitted he was spoken to but said he is staying with Andhra Pradesh. "I am going to remain loyal to my state and will have to look at the development of Andhra cricket," Prasad said on Saturday. He might but HT has learnt that two prominent players from AP have joined though they haven't informed the state association.