Posts Tagged ‘indian cricket league

10
Jun
09

BCCI vs ICL but on the cricket field for a change

India takes on giant-killers Ireland in today’s T20 World Cup fixture. Shouldn’t the BCCI be boycotting the game? Perplexed? When India takes the field for tonight’s game it will probably be the first time an India team is involved in a Match that also features players who’ve been involved in the Indian Cricket League (ICL). Ireland mainstays Niall O’Brien and Boyd Rankin turned up for the Delhi Jets and the Kolkata Tigers in the inaugural season respectively.

Keeper O’Brien was in fact the man of the match in Ireland’s victory over Bangladesh in their earlier match. He was also the MOM when he scored a gritty 72 to lead the Irish to a famous victory over India’s arch-rivals Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup. Rankin meanwhile took career best figures of 3/32 in the match and also  topped the bowling charts for Men in Green for the tournament. The two are in fact the only ex ICL players to have turned up for their national sides in official tournaments so far.

The BCCI looks like is unaware of the ICL presence in the Ireland team. They may have relaxed rules for ex ICL talent and is in the process of welcoming them back to the ‘official’ fold and so is unlikely to create any problems in tonight’s game even if they are aware of the situation. But it should be noted that Rankin and O’Brien returned to national colors as far as back in March 2008, more than an year before the Indian Board’s pardoning of the ‘rebels’. If Ireland goes on to upset the Indians tonight, the ICL bosses will have a reason to smile. After all it will be the only time that they probably will taste any sort of success against the BCCI.

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16
Nov
08

ICL final – Heroes win a thrilling match

 Whoever said ICL is a damp squib. All of you who said that should’ve watched todays second final between Hyderabad Heroes and Lahore Badshahs. It had all the ingredients of a roller coaster T20 ride. Big hits, out of the world catches, some brilliant fielding and even a kind of spat towards the close. The Heroes eventually won a match, which in my belief is probably one of the best T20 games ever.

The Heroes batting first got off a flyer with Aussie Jimmy Maher scoring a quickfire and by the time he got out they had reached 78 in just eight overs. Although they lost their way midway through the innings, the Heroes managed to set a challenging target of 158 runs. Azhar Mehmood and Rana Naved bowled well to get two wickets apiece for the Badshahs. Later, the Pakistani team did not get on to a great start losing two wickets even before the scorecard read 10. However a big hitting Shahid Yousuf seemed to take the match away from the Hyderabadis with a 51 off just 27 balls, sending the ball thrice ut of the park in the process, captain Chris Harris taking his price wicket. But none of the other batsmen could enjoy any success as the Bashahs were soon reduced to 102/, bowlers Abdur Razzaq, Stuart Binny, Nicky Boje and captain Harris delivering the goods. Hyderabad looked all set to level the 3 match final. But Saqlain Mushtaq who has been bowling brilliantly throughout the series had other ideas. He along with Mohammad Sami took the score to 132 with 3 overs left when Justin Kemp pulled of a blinder of a catch at the boundary getting Sami’s wicket. At this point there was some tension in the field as Sami refused to leave the ground even as the third umpire ruled him out. For a period of 15 minutes, there were lengthy discussions between Lahore captain Inzamam ul-Haq and the umpires. Sami eventually left the field making way for the last man Shahid Nazir to join Saqlain with Pakistan still 29 runs away from victory. Nazir hit a six and then played some sensible cricket with Saqlain scoring singles. The Heroes needed 9 runs off the last over as Chris Harris turned the ball to Alfred Absolem. Absolem hit Nazir’s pads the first ball but an LBW appeal was turned down by the umpire. However as Nazir tried to squeeze through a single, he was brilliantly run out by Harris. Saqlain was left stranded at 22. Heroes won the match by 9 runs and leveled the series.  

Jimmy Maher was declared man of the match later. But eventually it was the match itself that mattered, having all the highs and lows that you would expect from a  T20 game. Inzamam and team could face discliplianry action for Sami’s refusal to heed to the umpire’s decision. No matter what, Sami had no right to stay at the crease after being given out by the third umpire.

13
Nov
08

Why the ICL is better than the IPL

It may not have the cheerleaders from the Washington Redskins; the glitter that comes along with a Sachin or a Ponting may be absent; the stadiums may not have jam packed crowds of over 50,000; Shah Rukh or Preity Zinta may not be cheering from the stands; India Inc may not be queuing up to buy stakes in the teams, but still as far as cricket is concerned The Indian Cricket League is a resounding success. In my opinion it has scored over the ‘official’ T20 tournament of the BCCI, The Indian Premier League. . I have nothing against the IPL. The IPL definitely has created a sort of revolution in the outlook of cricket in the country. But one should not forget it was the creation of ICL that led to Lalit Modi and the BCCI forming the IPL. It is no secret that that the BCCI is only interested in making money and not developing cricket in India. One funny incident was when ICL ads started appearing on the official website of the IPL. It has since been removed but when contacted, the BCCI were quick to deny and put the blame on the site developers. 

For most, the first picture that comes to your mind when you think about the ICL is a bunch of ‘old’ people over 35 play along with club level cricketers. If that is the case why has players like Shane Bond, Justin Kemp and most recently Mohd. Yousuf, who are at the prime of their careers decide to join the so called ‘rebel’ league and put their international careers in jeopardy? And the reason why domestic layers from India joining the ICL is just because of the apathy shown by the BCCI. Whereas the contracted players in the national team earn crores of money, the domestic players were left in the lurch, waiting for upto months to receive match fees. If the BCCI were so keen in developing cricket, why were many talented domestic players not awarded stints in the IPL. Just because a few players like Swapnil Asnodkar, Ravindra Jadeja or Abhishek Nayar managed to gain recognition, it doesn’t mean the IPL has done anything for the development of the game. If you look at the stats, you’ll see that it was the foreign players who mostly overshadowed their Indian counterparts. All the centuries scored were by foreigners. The top wicket taker was a Pakistani. The top run getter was an Aussie. Now this is where the ICL has pipped the IPL. The most consistent players in the ICL have been Indian players. Guys like T.P. Singh, Ganpathi Vignesh, Ali Murtaza, Abbas Ali etc are true match winners and definitely national team material. In the ICL World series event, it was the Indians who won despite the fact only Rohan Gavaskar, Thiru Kumaran and T.P. Singh had any international experience, at a time when their counterparts from Pakistan and the rest of the world were filled with players loaded with years of experience. The fact is that despite no kind of recognition or help from BCCI or any state association, the ICL has come quite a long way.

The BCCI is at present in no mood to recognize the ICL. The BCCI had in fact wanted the ongoing season to close for talks between the two sides to take place. This only shows that they don’t give a damn about ICL or development of the game, because as long as the IPL is there, they’ll be raking in the cash. Even the ICC has remained mum on the issue, leaving the matter to the BCCI. They should intervene so that many talented players don’t miss out on showcasing their skills to the world because of hypocrisy from the Indian board. Even the other boards should do something. Pakistan has just lost their best batsman, Yousuf because of the unfair ban on ICL players. The truth is the other boards are scared of the money power of the BCCI. Even the upcoming Champions League T20 is just an event for the BCCI to bring in more cash. Kent Spitfires who finished runners up in the English T20 Cup were denied entry into the competition because of their ICL links. It is sad that the ECB did not protest and instead has allowed the Middlesex Crusaders, who won the Cup, to play in the Champions League. Also why is the event limited only to India, Australia, South Africa and England? ( Pakistan was given a spot only because the Spitfires were ineligible) What about T2O teams from other nations? Again the answer is obvious, the boards of the other countries are ‘poor’. 

The BCCI could work out with the ICL and they could exist simultaneously. A model similar to the Major League Baseball in the US could be followed, where two different leagues, the National League and the American League exist simultaneously and a in a season ending World Series the top team from each league face off.  This idea has existed for more than a century now, since 1903 to be precise. The BCCI could take a cue from the MLB and devise a formula such that the top teams from both the leagues could play each other. But first, the BCCI should at least remove the bans on the players.