BCCI-ICL battle hots up

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/s/subhashchandra.jpg' class='caption'> In its battle against the BCCI, the ICL now has some powerful allies who have scores to settle with the Sharad Pawar regime.

Updated: August 23, 2007 14:59 IST
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In its battle against the BCCI, the ICL now has some powerful allies who have scores to settle with the Sharad Pawar regime.

It all began, many say, when Pawar backed the Nagpur-based lawyer and BCCI Vice President Shashank Manohar as his future successor.

That upset other powerful aspirants like Union Minister and Laloo Yadav. So, Laloo has backed the ICL and even offered to stage their matches in railway stadiums.

"It will increase competition as players complain about not getting enough opportunities. It's good for Indian cricket, since several states don't get a chance," said Lalu Prasad Yadav, President, Bihar Cricket Association.

To a question if he would allow railway stadiums to be used for ICL, Lalu said he will offer the stadiums in exchange of money.

In fact, the Lalu controlled Bihar Cricket Association, which is already smarting from being excluded from the Cricket Board, is likely to come over to the ICL.

Even Congress leader Digvijay Singh said Indian cricketers should have more options.

"I have written a letter to Sharad Pawar as a lover of cricket, the attitude of BCCI is totally uncalled for. Why should they be so rigid and not let the players who are willing to, to participate in the ICL?" said Digvijay Singh, General Secretary, AICC.

"BCCI is there to promote cricket and not to put it under shackles. I think it should encourage other leagues also to come up, and if international cricketers are coming to participate, it's even better," said he said.

Also roped into the proxy war against the BCCI is former BCCI boss Jagmohan Dalmiya, who, ICL sources say, has offered his help to the ICL in no uncertain terms.

It's a sea change from the earlier intense rivalry between Dalmiya and ICL's super boss Subhash Chandra of Zee.

ICL's success story could well have been written in the divided boardrooms of BCCI. So, when the first ball of the ICL league is bowled at the end of the year Indian cricket's newest but powerful baby should thank the deep divisions within Indian cricket's official board for its formation.

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