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Talks over, league up ahead

For the past two days, top cricket officials have been involved in intense discussions over a proposed two-tiered world club championship in Twenty20 cricket, reports Kadambari Murali.

cricket Updated: Sep 04, 2007 05:03 IST
Kadambari Murali

For the past two days, some of cricket's top officials have been involved in intense discussions at a five-star hotel in Singapore, putting together the minutiae of a proposed two-tiered world club championship in Twenty20 cricket, the details of which were first reported by HT 10 days ago.

And on Monday morning, in England, BCCI president Sharad Pawar briefed the Indian team on the championship. "The president gave them the details of the proposed league and told them it would be announced in Delhi on the 13th," Board vice-president Rajeev Shukla told HT from London.

The Singapore meeting was to be a final pow-wow between the various board representatives before they presented the plan in full to their respective boards for approval.

According to sources, the representatives from the cricket boards of India, Australia, South Africa and England, among others, "sorted out the nuts and bolts and loose ends" of the upcoming Premier Cricket League (at the domestic level) and the Champions Cricket League (at the international level).

"The meeting was constructive," said a representative, adding that things had "more or less been finalised" and were "moving fast". There is likely to be one more meeting on the 10th in South Africa, on the eve of the Twenty20 World Cup, before the league is formally announced simultaneously in various countries.

The discussions in Singapore reportedly included those over player transfers, caps on salaries and how players from countries without a domestic league would manage. "Four countries — India, Australia, England and South Africa — look certain to have domestic leagues," said a source, adding that "perhaps Pakistan would manage" too.

If not, Pakistani players, like those from New Zealand or Sri Lanka, could play in the domestic leagues in other countries. Pawar, who addressed the media after India's win at Headingley on Sunday night, also said the BCCI had been working on the tournament for two years and that it would involve current players, rookies, retired players and foreign players. He also gave a final warning players joining the ICL.

"The players associated with the BCCI have to choose which direction they want to go in," he said.