Wellington:New Zealand Cricket cleared the way for fast bowler Shane Bond to return to international cricket by announcing on Thursday it would reinstate players who have severed all ties with the rebel Indian Cricket League.
Chief executive Justin Vaughan said the board of New Zealand Cricket had decided it would consider for national selection any player who had broken fully with the non-sanctioned Twenty20 league.
Bond is the most high profile of the nine New Zealanders who have played in the ICL and the most likely player to quickly regain a place in the New Zealand team. The others _ Daryl Tuffey, Lou Vincent, Hamish Marshall, Andre Adams, Chris Cairns, Craig McMillan, Chris Harris and Adam Parore _ had either ended their international careers or were marginal selections when they joined the rebel competition.
Vaughan said Thursday that the NZC decision was "about policy rather than any player's particular circumstance" but there has been disappointment in New Zealand that Bond's international career was cut short by his ICL involvement.
The injury-prone fast bowler became ineligible for New Zealand selection last year when he joined the ICL for a reported annual salary of $750,000.
The Indian cricket board on Tuesday said it had given an amnesty to 79 players who want to sever their ties with the ICL and return to mainstream competition. Cricket boards in Pakistan and Bangladesh have also offered amnesties to players who quit the ICL.
Vaughan said Bond and medium pacer Tuffey were likely candidates for international selection.
"We understand both of these players wish to return to international cricket, which is great news for cricket in New Zealand," he said. "Like other boards around the world we have had to clarify our position on how to deal with former ICL players who wish to return to international cricket. We consider ours is a reasonable policy.
"Individual players need to make their own decisions over their future with the ICL. Today's decision is by no means a guarantee of selection for any player. All former ICL players would need to earn their way back into the national side on merit."
Vaughan said New Zealand's decision did not indicate it condoned unsanctioned competitions and it was aware the ICC was considering sterner steps against players who take part in future rebel leagues.
"There's no question that New Zealand suffered heavily from the ICL. Our national side lost a significant number of top players," he said. "New Zealand wants to have a top-ranked national team and this is very hard when you are unable to select from all your best players.
"Many of the ICL players have had limited cricket over the past 12 months and there has been no ICL cricket played since 2008.
"The earliest time former ICL players would be eligible for selection is in August, which would amount to almost 12 months since the last ICL event.
"Taking all these factors into account the board felt there was little justification for a further stand-down period."