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Last Updated: Monday, 12 November 2007, 11:02 GMT
Solanki joins Indian rebel league
By Oliver Brett

Vikram Solanki
Vikram Solanki, 31, has played 51 one-day internationals

Vikram Solanki has become the third England player to join the rebel Indian Cricket League.

As revealed by BBC Sport on Saturday, the Worcestershire skipper will join Paul Nixon and Darren Maddy.

The England and Wales Cricket Board is putting pressure on the counties to reconsider allowing players to sign deals with the ICL.

But Worcestershire chief executive Mark Newton told the BBC the deal does not affect his current summer contract.

"Vikram is free to seek employment as he sees best, as anyone else in this country is, and we do not want to get in the way of that," said Newton.

"As he has said to us, if he wants to force himself into the England squad for the tour of New Zealand, this is the only meaningful cricket available to him and can act to keep his name in the frame."

The ICL, set to take place in November, differs from the Indian Premier League, an officially endorsed rival league being held in April, which is also attracting big-name players.

Solanki, 31, has played in 51 one-day internationals, the last in the summer of 2006 and also featured in England's Twenty20 squad in South Africa in September.

None of the three players are bound by ECB contracts during the winter.

606: DEBATE
Oliver Brett

Several national boards have threatened to ban anyone who joins the ICL, and though the ECB has not carried out a similar threat, it may yet do so.

An ECB spokesman said: "We distance ourselves from any unauthorised competitions, particularly those which provide no financial benefit for the expansion and development of the game."

Irish internationals Niall O'Brien and Boyd Rankin are due to fly out to India imminently as the fourth and fifth players from the counties to join the league.

And there are also suggestions some county players from overseas are due to honour similar contracts.

But the ECB has emailed all the counties asking them to persuade those players to back down.

There are, for instance, threats any county sending players to the ICL could be banned from the new Twenty20 Champions League starting in 2008.

Six nations will send their two best domestic teams to India for that lucrative event - in England's case it will be the finalists of the 2008 Twenty20 Cup.

A source close to the players told BBC Sport: "I don't know if the counties will stop the guys from signing up.

"But if the players have already signed contracts and consequently pull out then there's the potential for bounce-back action from the league.

Muttiah Muralitharan
Muralitharan has signed for the official Indian Premier League

"It would be a real mess if they suffered legal consequences."

The ICL was created by broadcaster Zee Telefilms, which had grown frustrated at its inability to secure telecast rights for major cricket events.

After initial delays, it is due to start by the middle of November, and will feature six teams, the Mumbai Champs, Chennai Super Stars, Chandigarh Lions, Hyderabad Warriors, Kolkata Tigers and Delhi Jets.

Its star names include the retired Brian Lara and Inzamam-ul-Haq.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has launched a copycat league, with teams also playing Twenty20 format.

Its top players include the likes of Muttiah Muralitharan and Ricky Ponting, who can play without any threat of being banned.

Sixteen of the 18 counties have their players signed on six-month contracts, which effectively makes their players free agents from 1 October to 31 March.

That means there is no legal impediment to stop the likes of Solanki, Maddy and Nixon for being employed elsewhere in the winter.

Only Lancashire's players are on full-year deals, while Glamorgan's are on nine-month contracts.

Solanki was not available for comment.

SEE ALSO
ODI rejection disappoints Solanki
25 Jun 07 |  Worcestershire
Aussie stars join Indian League
31 Oct 07 |  International Teams
McMillan ends New Zealand career
17 Oct 07 |  New Zealand
Pakistan stars join Indian league
20 Aug 07 |  Pakistan


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