David Leggat: India deadly serious on ICL

Add a comment

If deep down, you didn't really believe all the talk about how Indian officials view those associated with the Indian Cricket League as akin to something on the soles of their shoes, yesterday should have provided the proof.

The late withdrawing of Sachin Tendulkar and Indian teammate Dinesh Karthik from yesterday's Masters match in Wellington on the grounds they would be sharing turf with at least one ICL player, Hamish Marshall, should do the trick.

The Indian board - remember they run the "official" Indian Premier League - view the ICL and all those who play in it as swimmers would the guilty party after an unwelcome parcel had been deposited in their pool.

You imagine them sitting around their boardroom table chopping heads off dolls wearing ICL colours such is their paranoia about the rival, privately run operation.

But yesterday's Tendulkar incident presents larger problems for New Zealand Cricket. It demonstrates, on New Zealand soil, the lengths to which the Board of Control for Cricket in India will go to shut down any link, no matter how trivial, with the ICL.

Marshall played for the Bengal Tigers in last year's ICL. He has since left the league, yet the BCCI won't countenance anything, or anyone, remotely connected to that competition, even for a light-hearted romp such as yesterday's.

Imagine their horror when hearing Tendulkar, cricket's biggest name, would be sharing a dressing room with Marshall.

Forget that the game was an opportunity for Tendulkar to have a hit before the ODI series starts on Tuesday (he's not in the Twenty20 squad) or the goodwill that could have engendered.

Now imagine Tendulkar - who carries considerable clout - had insisted on playing. The BCCI would be in the invidious position of having to sanction the great man. That would have risked riots in Mumbai.

Fast forward to the State Championship round of games on March 6-9, where NZC are trying to find places for six Indian players in their test squad to give them match practice ahead of the test series.

This was NZC's guarantee to the Indian board as part of the deal by which India's practice game was rubbed out in favour of an extra test (which India requested) and a second Twenty20 game (which New Zealand sought in return).

Say Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman - two of India's batting kingpins - are assigned to Auckland and Canterbury.

Auckland's squad includes former test opening bowler Daryl Tuffey; Canterbury's number includes the ageless Chris Harris.

Both are ICL-contracted players, Tuffey with the Chandigarh Lions, Harris captains the Hyderabad Heroes.

The ICL may be heading for its death throes, with money owed to players in the midst of the global economic downturn. The BCCI won't rest until the ICL is six feet under.

So they say to NZC, find another game for our six. How? That's your problem, New Zealand.

The simplest solution to an increasingly messy situation would be to lean on Auckland and Canterbury to leave out Tuffey and Harris for that round of the championship.

Auckland are already expected to withdraw their overseas professional, Englishman Steven Croft, in favour of an Indian.

You might think that NZC could feel entitled to tell the BCCI that they've done their bit and found a first-class game for their six test players. If the BCCI want to get toey that's their business.

But that won't happen. Spaniels don't tell rottweilers their business.

- NZ Herald

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 24 Jul 2014 11:25:30 Processing Time: 1613ms