Friday saw a major first — JP Yadav became the first current Indian cricketer to publicly admit that he was set to join the Indian Cricket League, banned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for all practical purposes.
Railways allrounder Yadav, who has also turned out for India in 12 one-day internationals, told the Hindustan Times that he was in the midst of “negotiations” with officials of the controversial “rebel” league. “It is a good initiative and I am keen on joining it,” said Yadav, adding, “In fact, negotiations are on and it’s only a matter of days before I join them. I am glad it has happened. It will only help the players.”
His comments follow Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad’s statement supporting the ICL. The minister on Thursday had termed it a “good initiative” and offered various Railways controlled stadia in the country to the ICL for hosting matches.
And that’s not all. It is well known that a host of top Ranji players are in talks with the ICL and Yadav confirmed this, adding that several players from the Railways Ranji team were among that number. “I won’t name them now but there are about four-five others in our team who are keen on joining the ICL.”
Asked what would happen to the team if its top players joined the league, he said: “They are really going to suffer this season.” Former champions Railways are currently in the Plate division.
However, the team’s assistant coach, Abhay Sharma, was guarded. “See, we play for our department and I think it is only a statement. There is a lot of difference between a statement and a decision. But having said that, I would also add that our minister would have thought of something before coming out with such a statement. He must have had something in mind.”
Asked what action he thought the BCCI would take if the Railways officially supported the ICL, he said, “That is for the top bosses to decide. But at the moment we are affiliated to the BCCI and so also the ministry.”