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Uncertainty looms large over Lara

A haze of uncertainty continues over the participation of Brian Lara in the Indian Cricket League Twenty20 tournament beginning at Panchkula from November 30

cricket Updated: Nov 24, 2007 16:28 IST

Uncertainty continues over participation of West Indian legend Brian Lara in the Indian Cricket League Twenty20 tournament beginning here from November 30.

"He has left West Indies and only once he reaches here, we all will know," ICL's Executive Board Chairman Kapil Dev told reporters here today.

When asked him if there had been any communication with Lara, who according to ICL officials is to play for Mumbai Champs, one of the six teams in the tournament, all Kapil said "Lara has left his country."

When asked if all the international players who had signed up with ICL would participate, Kapil said "99 per cent of them will be there, but if the odd one falls ill or something, what can we do."

Kapil took journalists around to show facilities at the Tau Devi Lal stadium where the tournament spread over two weeks is to be played.

When pointed out that installation of floodlights, readying of outfield and other works were yet to be completed, Kapil assured that "everything will be put in place before the tournament takes off."

Asked how he felt about this venture, he said the excitement and nervousness was similar to what parents went through when expecting a baby.

"It's (ICL tournament) our baby and we are keeping our fingers crossed," he said, adding the focus at the moment was to ensure it went off well and plans of holding future tournaments will be taken care of later.

Kapil said some new rules would be introduced in the forthcoming tournament.

"To encourage fielders aim more hits at the stumps to effect a run out, we have decided to do away with over-throws that are normally given if the ball gets deflected off the stumps," he said.

He said sale of tickets, which will be moderately priced, will begin in a day or two.

Asked if holding of more and more Twenty20 ventures could threaten one-day internationals, he said they may have some effect in the shorter run, but in the longer period the ODI format will survive like Test matches.

On Yuvraj Singh's exclusion from the Test side, Kapil said "whosoever is playing well deserves a chance. However, looking at the issue from another perpesctive, one can say today the Indian team has good bench strength and players are performing well".

To a question, Kapil said superstar Shah Rukh Khan will be invited to watch ICL matches.

"If big stars like him take time out from their busy schedule, I think we should respect that. I would say if people like him come to watch a match, it's a great honour for all of us as sportspersons. Rather than saying he is promoting himself or his films, I think he is actually promoting cricket," he said.