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Gough, hold on! BCCI yet to decide

Maharashtra is keen on the English pacer playing in Ranji Trophy, but BCCI says it has reached an 'understanding' between associations. Your take?

india Updated: Sep 26, 2006 15:58 IST

BCCI on Mondaysaid it was yet to approve participation of foreign players in domestic cricket like the Ranji Trophy and this has to be discussed at the next working committee meeting of the BCCI after its AGM here on September 27 and 28.

"The board has yet to take a call on the matter. It (allowing state units to hire overseas cricketers) is yet to be discussed and it will be done at the next working committee," said former BCCI chief I S Bindra.

"Overseas players have played in Indian domestic cricket in the 1960s before it was discontinued. We are aware of the problems faced by England when it allowed two overseas signings per team in the English county cricket," Bindra said.

Talking on the same issue, with reports having come in that Maharashtra are keen to recruit England pacer Darren Gough to play in domestic cricket, BCCI vice president Lalit Modi said, "an informal understanding has been reached (between associations) on the issue (not to allow foreign players)."

As per the re-branding initiative the three teams to play in the Challenger Series for the NKP Salve Trophy season-opening event in Chennai from Oct 1-4 will be called India Blue (formerly seniors), India Green and India Reds (formerly A and B).

The other tournaments that are to be telecast live are Elite division of the Ranji Trophy (9 matches including semis and final), Irani Cup (Ranji champions UP vs the Rest of India to be held in Nagpur from Oct 9-13), Duleep Trophy final in Kolkata (Nov 12-16), and the re-branded Deodhar Trophy (All Star Series for the Deodhar Trophy, 10 matches in all) and the one-day domestic knock-out tournament re-named as the Premier Cup (four preliminary ties, plus two semis and final) to be held from March 15-25.

Modi admitted that the All Star Series in March, 2007 would be bereft of the top stars of Indian cricket who would be busy in the World Cup in the West Indies.

"But from next season onwards the situation will be different. In fact there is a clamour from all the state associations that the stars should play in more domestic tournaments and we are moving towards this," said Modi.

"The new marketing initiatives in domestic cricket would be discussed at the marketing committee meeting here tomorrow," he added.

Nimbus chairman Harish Thawani said that the telecast would be available for viewers in England, South Africa and Australia while efforts were on to make it available in the US too.

Bindra said that the aim of the BCCI was in making 300 players the stars of Indian cricket by paying all of them handsomely and marketing the domestic game instead of leaving the superstardom the preserve of a chosen 15 or so players who regularly play for the national team.

"BCCI is looking at these initiatives as steps towards encouraging interest in domestic cricket. It will also bring an unprecedented amount of high-quality excitement to Indian and international audiences," Modi said.

"We intend to make domestic cricket events on par with other successful domestic sports brands in the world (like football and baseball) and the initiatives announced today are the first of a number of exciting plans that we have in store," he added.

First Published: Sep 26, 2006 15:58 IST