New Delhi, Bangalore:With the Indian Cricket League stepping up its efforts to rope in star players, the BCCI on Friday made it clear that any cricketer who aligns with the rebel body will be banned for life from playing for India.
BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah has been quoted as saying that, "Players who take part in the ICL will never be eligible to play for the country again. It is up to the players to decide what they want to do."
BCCI President Sharad Pawar shares Shah's views but has preferred to be a little more subtle.
"Any effort that will ultimately resolve the problem of retired players or ex-players which will give them financial support and stability in life, we do not want to oppose that."
"If anybody wants to start coaching youngsters, let him. He will help youngsters and it will be good for the country. But organizing independent separate tournaments, that is a problem for the BCCI," said Pawar.
Pawar, however, was not so subtle in expressing his annoyance with former Indian skipper Kapil Dev who has joined the Indian Cricket League as a director.
The BCCI is, in fact, meeting later this month to decide on whether to take away Kapil's BCCI pension and to remove him as chairman of the National Cricket Academy.
"In fact, he is the President, the entire job has been given to him. But unfortunately it looks like that he is extremely busy with some other activity," said Pawar.
The BCCI has always protected its monopoly over Indian cricket, but clearly breakaway leagues are now going to be a problem.
The same, in fact, holds true for other boards as well.
For example, Allen Stanford, a businessman from the West Indies, is also making offers to players around the world for his inaugural 20/20 league in the Caribbean.
And that one may be even harder for players to refuse since it features a prize money of $23 million compared to the $1 million offered by the ICL.