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Page last updated at 22:59 GMT, Friday, 7 March 2008

ECB threatens future ICL recruits

Chris Read
Chris Read played in the inaugural Indian Cricket League event

The England and Wales Cricket Board has warned players tempted to join the rebel Indian Cricket League that they face missing a whole county season.

The ECB has issued what it calls a "robust" response to the threats posed by the ICL, which is not endorsed by the International Cricket Council.

Chris Read, Vikram Solanki, Darren Maddy and Paul Nixon accepted lucrative deals to play in the first ICL season.

But if any play again, they will be denied county registration for a year.

The ECB states: "A cricketer who has played in an unauthorised event in the 12 months leading up to 1 April in any given year will not qualify for registration."

Friday's news release from the ECB does not specifically mention the ICL, but the implication is clear when it mentions "events which are not authorised by the ICC and its members".

The ICL, in which eight teams play each other in a Twenty20 format, has been rivalled by an officially backed version called the Indian Premier League.

The IPL begins its first season in April and will reap its participants even more money.

Between them, the two leagues threaten the established order of world cricket.

Counties and the Professional Cricketers' Association have sought clarity concerning this complex situation

David Collier
ECB chief executive

And they offer more options to England's top professionals who currently face the exhausting treadmill of county cricket or the equally taxing Test and one-day schedule.

The ECB's chief executive David Collier said: "Counties and the Professional Cricketers' Association have sought clarity concerning this complex situation.

"The [legal] advice received has informed the steps that the board has taken and the board stands ready to discuss the detail and impact of these steps with counties and individual players potentially affected."

On Monday, Glamorgan spinner Robert Croft said he had rejected early overtures for him to join the second staging of the ICL.

Lancashire captain Stuart Law, now registered as an England-qualified player, also captains one of the ICL sides.

It appears he and Hampshire's Nic Pothas will be allowed to play in both India and England this season as per the following paragraph in the ECB release:

"In respect of cricketers who are already registered with the ECB, and who have already contracted with an unauthorised event, the ECB has been advised that no action should be taken against them."

From 2009 onwards, however, that particular loophole will not exist.

Meanwhile, overseas cricketers must obtain a "No Objection Certificate" from their national cricket boards.

This could apparently stop Sussex hero Mushtaq Ahmed representing his county because the Pakistan Cricket Board says it will not send an NOC to Hove.

The ECB can exercise discretion in "exceptional circumstances".

But the "Kolpak" free agents who have turned their back on South African cricket can, for now at least, safely pursue both the ICL and county cricket.

see also
Cricket's new order
29 Feb 08 |  Cricket
Bond seeks Indian leagues clarity
06 Mar 08 |  New Zealand
Pothas decision disappoints Hants
05 Mar 08 |  Hampshire
Croft rejects rebel competition
03 Mar 08 |  Glamorgan

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