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Home > Cricket > PTI > Report

Seven Hyderabad Ranji players join ICL

August 16, 2007 18:37 IST
Last Updated: August 16, 2007 20:43 IST

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Undeterred by the Board of Control for Cricket in India's threat to impose bans and withdraw financial benefits, seven Hyderabad Ranji Trophy players on Thursday joined the Indian Cricket League, thus giving the rebel series a boost.

Promising 21-year-old batsman Ambatti Rayudu is among the seven who have reportedly decided to align with the Subhash Chandra-owned Essel Group's parallel venture.

After signing on several retired players during the past few weeks, the league has got current Ranji Trophy players to align themselves with the proposed Twenty20 tournament, to be held in October.

Hyderabad Cricket Association president G Vinod described the development as "very embarrassing" and said it would no doubt weaken the Hyderabad Ranji Trophy team.

"Seven of our players walking out will weaken the Hyderabad team, but we will try and recruit fresh talent," he said.

Apart from Rayudu, Vinay Kumar, Ibrahim Khalil, I S Reddy, Anirudh Singh, Kaushik Reddy and Shashank Nag are the other players to walk out on the team.

Vinod said the association will wait for the BCCI to take a decision on the fate of the players at its Annual General Meeting in Mumbai on August 21.

"The players joined ICL in Chennai last night but informed the Hyderabad Cricket Association only this morning," said Vinod, who is also a minister in the Andhra Pradesh government.

He cried foul, saying the players are "the property of HCA and got all the encouragement and opportunities from the body. I don't know why they have left".

"Had they informed HCA before joining ICL, things would have been different," Vinod added.

Although the organisers of the breakaway league did not disclose the financial details, it is learnt that the players would stand to gain a hefty Rs 90 lakh each for a three-year contract besides Rs one lakh as match fees.

It is in stark contrast to Rs 60,000 that Ranji Trophy players earn for a match.

The BCCI paid Rs 16,000 as match fees for a member of the playing eleven and an additional Rs 44,000 as part of its profit sharing arrangement with domestic players.

In other words, if a Ranji player went on to reach the final, he would roughly get Rs 5.4 lakh per year, a pittance compared to what the ICL is offering an average player.

While the ICL is offering Rs 30 lakh for an average Ranji player, it is willing to pay Rs 50 lakh per year for a player with international experience.

Rayudu's decision to join the rebel body comes as a surprise, as he was touted as India's next great batting hope since he started training at the National Cricket Academy in 2002.

Rayudu has scored 2715 runs in 47 first-class matches at an average of 39.92 but none of the other players had the potential to play for India.

The development assumes significance as it shows that younger players are more than willing to play for the breakaway series despite the BCCI diktat.

While the Hyderabad players are among the first Ranji Trophy cricketers to join the rebel venture, sources in the ICL said negotiations are on with a host of other such players and the feedback is encouraging.

Ever since the league was announced, the BCCI has been blowing hot and cold on the contentious issue, with its top officials making contradictory statements at times.

While secretary Niranjan Shah talked about imposing life bans on players if they aligned with the ICL, president Sharad Pawar [Images] said there is no confrontation and ruled out banning anybody for life.

However, the BCCI's office-bearers met on August 8 in New Delhi and issued a rather vague statement, which in effect was a mild reiteration of their stand of barring players from playing for the country if they joined the ICL.

The statement read: "Every individual has a right to choose whether he wishes to associate himself with the BCCI or any other organisation. However, if he chooses to associate himself with any other organisation, he shall not be entitled to derive any benefits from BCCI, or be connected with any of its activities."

Former West Indies [Images] captain Brian Lara [Images] has so far been the only high-profile signing by the ICL though there has been speculation that some top Pakistani players like Inzamam-ul Haq, Mohammad Yousuf [Images], Abdul Razzaq [Images] and Imran Farhat [Images] are said to be in advanced stage of negotiation.

A host of former Indian players like Kiran More, Sandeep Patil, Madan Lal, Balwinder Singh Sandhu have already joined the league in different capacities. Former India captain Kapil Dev [Images] heads the ICL's Executive Board.

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