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Sharad Pawar leaves ball in ECB court

BCCI President Sharad Pawar said though English counties are free to include ICL players in their teams, BCCI will take the final decision.
PTI | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JUN 20, 2008 06:10 PM IST

BCCI President Sharad Pawar, in a stern warning, said English counties -- expected to participate in the Champions League -- were free to include players connected with unofficial ICL in their teams but BCCI would have the last laugh when it comes to a final decision.

The strong statement is going to give a testing time to the England and Wales Cricket Board, which has allowed ICL players to play in its domestic circuit.

Around 25 such cricketers are featuring in 15 of its 18 counties, this season.

"This is not within the BCCI's jurisdiction. They can do what they want. If any country takes any decision on this, they have every right to do so. They have the freedom to take a decision on the teams they choose to represent them (in the Champions League).

"But then, we also have the freedom to take our decision on the issue later," Pawar told Cricinfo.

IPL chairman Lalit Modi has already said that teams with players associated with the rebel ICL would not be invited for the tournament "under any circumstance".

The BCCI backed USD 5 million Champions League would pit two top Twenty20 domestic teams from India, England, Australia and South Africa against each other, later this year.

On being asked if an English county team with ICL players qualifies for the Champions League, what would the BCCI do, Pawar referred to the ICC's stand on the ICL and said that all countries "have been informed about it".

The ICC has decided to go by the BCCI's policy towards ICL, which was launched last year before the BCCI's cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL).

However, Pawar said BCCI would consider young ICL players, "If anybody approaches them."

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