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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 April 2007, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
India to get rebel cricket league
India cricket
India's largest media company has unveiled plans for a $1m cricket league that could challenge official Board of Control competitions.

Zee Telefilms say six teams will take part in Twenty20 matches to be played in India in July-August.

Each side will feature two Indian internationals, four overseas players and eight up-and-coming Indian players.

Zee Telefilms chief Subhash Chandra, who announced the series, declined to name the players he had signed up.

The Indian Cricket League, as the series will be called, will be expanded to 50-over cricket later in due course, Chandra said.

"It troubles me that a country with more than a billion cricket fans fares so poorly on the international stage," he added.

"A professional league is the need of the hour as is a killer instinct in the players."

BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said in a statement that "an appropriate decision will be taken by the Board".

The Indian Cricket League is reminiscent of the rebel World Cricket Series started by Australian TV magnate Kerry Packer in 1977.

Packer launched his series after being denied official TV rights by the Australian Cricket Board for matches played in the country.

Zee Telefilms was rebuffed by the BCCI in 2004 despite making the highest bid of $308m for Indian rights for a four-year period.

The BCCI cancelled Zee's contract after rival ESPN-Star, a joint subsidiary of Disney and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., challenged the bidding process in court.

The announcement of the rebel league comes less than two weeks after India were knocked out of the World Cup in the first round.

The BCCI is holding meetings in Mumbai on Friday and Saturday to discuss the future of several senior members of the team and coach Greg Chappell.

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