International Cricket Council president Malcolm Gray is a happy man today.
Lauding the Indian players for "honouring the ICC and its sponsors" by signing the ICC Players' Terms contract, Gray declared that it is the best piece of news he received in a long time.
"India's best team to South Africa will fulfill the wishes of the world, who want to see great cricket at the World Cup. Every spectator will get his money's worth," Gray, speaking from Melbourne, told rediff.com .
The Indian players have expressed reservations on certain clauses in the contract. Their main objection is the '30-day before and after the tournament' clause. They are willing to persuade their personal sponsors not to air conflicting advertisements for the duration of the World Cup but are against agreeing to a restriction of the same for a month before and after the event.
Gray described the Indians' stance as "rather tough" but said that the ICC would definitely look into the matter since the Indian players had "shown flexibility and signed on the dotted line".
The players also expressed objection to the image clause and requested the sponsors not use their images for the six-month period after the tournament, as originally mentioned in the contract.
But Gray defended the official sponsors, saying they agreed to cut down that period from six months to three.
"The GCC has shown that they are willing to compromise and have promised to use the player images in a non-ambushing way. The sponsors have assured us that they will not use players' images on endorsement of their products."
Illustrating his point Gray said, "Take Virender Sehwag for example. He endorses Coke, so his image will never be used alone with Pepsi; it will always be in a group. Secondly, he will not be asked to do anything that will show him supporting Pepsi products.
"I think the Indians have done the right thing by agreeing to participate in the World Cup. They owed it to the public. I am glad common sense has prevailed," he said.
Another senior ICC official confirmed that the matter between the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the ICC will still go to arbitration, but only after the event. He said the case would be towards resolving the financial matter and the legalities of contracts between the two sporting bodies.
"The BCCI had no other option really than to convince the players to sign the contracts," the official said.
The Contract row - the complete coverage