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Lara, Atapattu, Law heap praise on Indian players

As the ICL's Twenty20 championship is drawing to its conclusion, star players like Lara and Atapattu have doffed their caps at young guns.

cricket Updated: Dec 15, 2007 20:33 IST

Unheard of till now and growing in the shadows of their more renowned team mates, the youngsters defecting to the rebel Indian Cricket League have earned rich tributes from the star players of yesteryears for their talent and commitment.

As the ICL's Twenty20 championship is drawing to its conclusion, star players like Brian Lara and Marvan Atapattu have doffed their caps at these young guns with big hearts.

"Even though we (Mumbai Champs) finished sixth (last) in the tournament, I am impressed with some of the Indian players who have really played well," Lara said after his team lost to Hyderabad Heroes to finish sixth.

"As the tournament has progressed, the Indian players have shown improvement constantly," he said.

Former Sri Lankan skipper Atapattu, who is leading the Delhi Jets, said the tournament has been a success and the "Indian performances have been ever so improving".

"Hopefully, they will go from strength to strength," he said.

Atapattu said the existing ICL format is good, but the competition would improve if more teams take part in it.

Chennai Superstars captain and former Australian batsman Stuart Law, whose team has already made it for tomorrow's final, said the ICL has been a "good hunting ground for young Indian talent".

"They were given an opportunity to perform and they have grabbed it with both hands. They have come good playing at international level and performing under pressure situations," he said.

Kolkata Tigers skipper Craig MacMillan said he is "pleasantly surprised" with the way Indian players had set high standards of fielding in the tournament.

"Fielding in particular has been good as would be in any international matcsh, if not better. Over the next few years, they should be doing a good job for their country," MacMillan said.

When reminded that BCCI had shut doors on the Indian players taking part in the ICL, Macmillan said, "it is unfair to treat them in this way. It is disappointing."

Mumbai Champs player and former New Zealand all-rounder Nathan Astle felt the tournament has been a good learning curve for the budding Indian talents.

Indian batsmen including Mohnish Mishra, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Dheeraj Jadhav, Abbas Ali and Rajagopal Sathish have been among the top run-getters of the tournament.

Kiran Powar (186.53), Sathish (180.32), Chetan Sharma (173.68), Hemang Badani (148.05) and Vasanth Sarvanan (143.54) have impressed with high batting strike rates in this tournament.

Thiru Kumaran has impressed in the bowling department topping the charts by taking 12 wickets in five matches while youngest player of the tournament, 17-year-old Ali Murtaza, has taken 10 scalps in five matches.

Another young 18-year-old from Assam, Sujay Tarafdar, has also impressed by taking five wickets from just two matches.