'I couldn't refuse tempting ICL offer'
Former Sri Lankan Test cricketer Russell Arnold has said that the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) made him an offer so tempting that he couldn't refuse and he should not be seen as a traitor for signing.
Arnold, who retired after the World Cup in the West Indies, said that he didn't hang up his boots for the ICL and added that the new Twenty20 format would give him a lifestyle he wanted at this stage of his career, the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying.
He was reportedly paid a fee to the tune of $150,000 by the ICL, which is now seen as a competitor of the Indian board backed Indian Premier League (IPL).
Asked whether the aforesaid figure was true, Arnold said: "It's much more than that. You need to look after yourself and if you can do that without harming anybody, then why not?"
Arnold is currently based in Sydney and plays for the Sydney Cricket Club.
"The ICL offered me a contract that was fantastic in all senses. I get to play cricket and earn good money. I can play in the ICL, I can play in Sydney and enjoy that and then play also in England. It's what I wanted and suits where I'm at," he was quoted as saying.
On the IPL, which is scheduled to start in April, Arnold said: "They might try to make us look like rebels but the IPL is the same thing. The IPL is really sanctioning the ICL. Whatever goes on at ICC level or whatever is out of my realm."
There has been a concerted effort to discredit the ICL based primarily on the lower quality of its players compared to the IPL and the standard of facilities available to it.
Arnold said the ICL will allow him to play and earn money without the strain of a heavy cricket schedule.
"ICL takes me away for 30 days and there is the chance for my family to be with me," he said.