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'ICL will help me produce winners'

cricket Updated: Sep 03, 2007 12:00 IST
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Off-spin legend Erapalli Prasanna feels the newly formed Indian Cricket League (ICL) will help him mould budding spinners into match winners in the country.

"I didn't have a respectable position in the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and it was of no use. This season my duties with the NCA was restricted to only 10 days with five days each in Kolkata and Nagpur," Prasanna told IANS in an interview at his Bangalore residence.

"So when Kapil (Dev) approached me, I decided to join the ICL. We both have the same objective and I want to turn spinners into potential match winners," he said, spelling out his plans as the ICL is to set up an academy soon.

Kapil, India's only World Cup winning captain, is chairman of the rebel ICL's executive board, promoted by the Essel Group headed by media baron Subhash Chandra.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has refused to recognise the ICL, calling it a "rebel league" and banning all the players associated with it from taking part in any of its tournaments.

And Prasanna, who along with Bishan Singh Bedi, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and Srinivasan Venkatraghavan formed a lethal spin quartet in the 1960s and 1970s, has been made a member of the ICL board.

"When (Jagmohan) Dalmiya was BCCI president he set up the Spin Wing in the NCA with me and Bedi in charge. But now with a new regime in place the Spin Wing is in a shambles," said Prasanna.

"I didn't even have a contract with the NCA. They used to call me when they felt like it. But in the new ICL academy, which will come up in the coming days, I will have a proper role.

"I will be regularly guiding the players in the nets. Former players always want to give back to the game and if we do it through the ICL, I don't know why the BCCI has a problem," said Prasanna.

"I don't know why the BCCI is so scared of the ICL. The BCCI is a 75-year-old body and the ICL is still a baby. The ICL is in no way the BCCI's competitor or rival. <b1>

"If the players wouldn't have performed from the 1930s then the BCCI would not have been what it is now. So this is also the gestation period for the ICL, and the BCCI has also gone through the process in its early days," said Prasanna.

He also added the ICL is a platform for the players, who had the potential but could not make it to the national team.

"When these guys will play with the likes of Brian Lara and Mohammed Yousuf, they will learn a lot," said the legendary spinner, whom former Australian captain Ian Chappell had descrfibed as the most dangerous off-spinner he had ever faced .

The BCCI has also announced that former players who have joined the ICL board cannot draw the pensions and other benefits.

"A player is given pension in respect for his services to the game. So debarring former players from the pension doesn't show the BCCI in good light," said Prasanna.

Prasanna felt the ICL has better credentials than the BCCI, saying: "The ICL is run by players and is backed up by professionals who have the expertise in conducting cricket matches."