ICL to kick off on November 30
After an intense recruitment drive, the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) on Tuesday announced the dates and the venue for its high profile inaugural edition of the Twenty20 championship.
The League, which will have West Indies batting great Brian Lara and some other recently retired international cricketers as its star attraction, will be held in Panchkula, Chandigarh, from November 30 to December 16.
The tournament, to be played at Tau Devi Lal Cricket Stadium, will have 20 matches in all and will carry a prize money of $1 million.
The dates and venue were finalised at the ICL's Executive Board meeting here, giving the rebel body a head start over the BCCI's proposed Indian Premier League, which is scheduled to be held in April next year.
The tournament, a brainchild of Subhash Chandra-owned Essel Group, will have 20 matches, which includes 15 round robin matches and five classification ties.
The Grand Final preceded by three classification matches will be played on December 16.
"The ICL Twenty20 championship will be held as promised, later next month at Chandigarh. We are working hard to deliver a very exciting tournament for the viewers.
"I am confident that the public in this country will witness for the first time a fully professionally organised cricket extravaganza," ICL Chairman Kapil Dev said.
Pakistan's Abdul Razzaq, Imran Farhat and Azhar Mahmood, South Africans Lance Klusener and Nicky Boje and New Zealand's Chris Cairns, Chris Harris, Nathan Astle, Hamish Marshal and Darren Maddy of England are some of the other foreign players who have signed up for ICL.
Dinesh Mongia, Reetinder Singh Sodhi, JP Yadav, Deep Dasgupta, Nilesh Kulkarni, S Sriram, T Kumaran, Ambati Rayudu, Mihir Diwakar, Rakesh Patel, Kiran Powar are the top domestic players who will be seen in action.
Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and prolific batsman Mohammad Yousuf had initially signed for the ICL, but canceled their contracts and have now aligned with the IPL, which is seen as a counter to the breakaway league.
The ICL has not got the recognition of the International Cricket Council or its affiliated members.
Soon after the ICL announced its plans to stage the Twenty20 tournament, the BCCI launched its own T20 venture with the support of several Test playing nations and offered hefty prize money to lure top cricketers to its fold.