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Players considering playing in Stanford league

The tournament, proposed by a Texan billionaire, is similar to the Indian Cricket League in concept.

cricket Updated: Aug 18, 2007 18:23 IST
PTI
Players are considering playing in Stanford league as well

With the Indian Cricket League making lucrative offers, many players are keen to cash in on the lucre pouring in and are even considering playing in another multi-million dollar league, the planned Stanford Twenty-20 tournament in the West Indies.

"I know some of the players who are considering it. If as a professional you can ply your trade and make some money in the process, what's wrong in it," one India international, now out of the national team reckoning, said.

The tournament, proposed by Texan billionaire Allen Stanford who has promised to pump in USD 100 million into West Indies cricket, is similar to the ICL in concept.

But while the ICL has been opposed by the BCCI, the Caribbean event has the support of West Indies Cricket Board which has even set aside dates for the same in its domestic calendar. The tournament, however, is yet to be approved by the ICC which seems to want a pie from Stanford's largess.

The ICL has received an overwhelming response from the players, though.

Sridharan Sriram, 31-year-old from Tamil Nadu, became the first India player to sign on the dotted line for a three-year contract from the Essel Group venture. The left-hander, who in recent years has been representing Maharashtra, played for India in eight one-dayers without much success before being confined to oblivion.

The Chennai-born cricketer is currently playing in North Lancashire league in England.

And there could be more such discarded players following in Sriram's footsteps, like Railways all-rounder Sanjay Bangar.

"There have been talks but I have not made a decision. It's only preliminary level," Bangar told PTI from England.

Bangar was cautious when asked for his opinion about the ICL concept. "It's definitely new, and an untested territory," he said.

Sriram's accepting the offer came on a day when Alfred Absolem became the eighth player from Hyderabad to join the ICL. Earlier, a group of seven players including 21-year-old Ambati Rayudu had jumped fence.

Besides, three players from Uttar Pradesh - Shalabh Srivastava, Ali Murtaza and Avinash Yadav - had also reportedly sided with the rebel league.

Nilesh Kulkarni, another India international, and Mumbai teammate Amol Muzumdar were also reported to be considering lucrative offers.

One international player, however, has decided to stay away from the ICL - Sriram's former Tamil Nadu teammate Hemang Badani.

Badani, who played in 40 ODIs averaging 33.34 with 867 runs before injuries hampered his India career, has chosen to remain with the mainstream.

Bharat Reddy, former Test wicketkeeper and now with the ICL, said the league has got more players now than they had planned for earlier.

"We are looking for current and promising Ranji Trophy players. The response has been very good. Actually we now have too many people," Reddy told PTI from Chennai.

"I don't know what the organisers are going to do about it, whether increase the number of teams or whatever."

What did such a thumbs-up reaction from the players to the ICL tell him about the state of Indian cricket?

"Maybe they feel they are not being treated properly, or not feeling wanted. Who knows," Reddy said.

He refused to look far ahead about the shape the ICL might take, though. "It can take any form, it all depends on how the BCCI responds," he said.

Reddy, however, did not rule out a future scenario where the players could be playing in both the ICL and the Stanford tournament.