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Swift return for rebels unlikely

cricket Updated: May 05, 2009 01:55 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times
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If you thought the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) amnesty announcement would mean a swift return to fold for players in the Indian Cricket League (ICL), think again.

The BCCI's offer has been well received but several practical matters need to be sorted out before players can return to the mainstream.

Since the BCCI's decision, ICL players have had unofficial meetings over what the next course of action should be. "From what I gather, some 99% of the players want to leave the ICL and return to the BCCI," a senior ICL player said. "We have not been paid by the ICL since December and now it seems we may never get that money."

But the player, who claimed to be unofficially representing a large group of youngsters, also said: "From what little discussions I have had with the ICL, they are not going to release us from our contracts easily."

The ICL has said nothing officially on the matter and insists that it will conduct a scheduled Twenty20 tournament in October.

"We have already burnt bridges with our state associations and the BCCI. Now it seems the ICL will not release us and we will have to explore the legal route. This will mean burning all bridges with the ICL," the player said.

But what is the problem in doing so? "Practically it may be difficult to get a relieving letter or a No Objection Certificate from the league before the BCCI deadline (May 31)," the player said.

"The players did not ask us before joining the ICL. I don't know why they think we can help them out with their ICL dealings now.

“Unless they cancel their contracts and get a relieving letter, how can we take them back," a top BCCI official asked.

The BCCI has provided each state association the format of the undertaking players must sign to return to the fold.

"I, hereby inform you that I have severed all ties with Indian Cricket League (ICL) and I have no connection whatsoever with ICL either directly or indirectly," is how the letter begins.

"I am ready and willing to abide by the Rules and Regulations of BCCI and undertake not to associate with any unauthorised cricket hereinafter and further undertake that in case of me associating with any unauthorised cricket, BCCI would be entitled to inflict any punishment as per its Rules and Regulations,” the undertaking states.

Providing this might be easy, but getting a release letter from the ICL could prove tricky.