SOUTH AFRICAN all-rounder Justin Kemp may be enjoying his association with the Indian Cricket League, but his decision has in a way resulted in a battle of sorts between Kent, the county he is contracted with, and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Speaking exclusively to HT, on the matter, Kemp said, "The main reason for my joining the ICL was that I also wanted to play county cricket. Since the dates didn't clash, I opted for them instead of the IPL. I had put everything before the Kent County Cricket Club and the players' union and they were also of the opinion that I should play for the ICL."
Ironically, the choice has become a hindrance to his playing for Kent. The ECB has refused to give him the go-ahead as the ICL does not come under the purview of the BCCI. In a release issued to HT, the ECB has come out with the names of players who have been refused permission — Wavell Hinds (Derbyshire), Johannes van der Wath (Northamptonshire), Andrew Hall (Northamptonshire), Hamish Marshall (Gloucestershire) and Kemp (Kent).
Though Kent officials are tight-lipped, Kemp is optimistic. "My contract still holds good and I will definitely take part in the championship which starts from April 16. There are issues but I am sure they would be resolved in time."
Interestingly, Shane Bond's name does not figure in the ECB's list but chances are he might not be able to play for Hampshire, even though he has a contract. The reason is the newly introduced clause relating to a No Objection Certificate (NoC). The ECB has made it clear that a player who wants to play county cricket must produce a NoC from his home board. Obtaining the same would be difficult for Bond as he has ceased to be under the purview of New Zealand Cricket.
On the contrary, Mushtaq Ahmed, who is part of the Lahore Badshahs, would be able to fulfil his county commitment as he has procured a NoC from the PCB.
Changing tack, Kemp preferred to stay clear of the controversy surrounding South African cricket on including a minimum of six coloured players in the team. "I am not bothered. The issue has been in the team for long and I guess we should all accept it. There are good coloured players like Ashwell Prince and Makhaya Ntini and we should acknowledge their presence," he said.
On his association with the ICL, Kemp said, "When I had joined, I was under the impression that there wouldn't be a problem. But now the South African Board is not allowing players to join for obvious reasons. "Still, I feel it is a fantastic platform for young players who want to showcase their talent and without doubt we have a lot of talent coming in."