Fears of a rebel T20 competition involving at least one team from New Zealand have surfaced after the group behind the failed Indian Cricket League began registering company names similar to existing national bodies.

New Zealand Cricket noticed in December that three companies - New Zealand Cricket Limited, Kiwi Cricket Limited and Aotearoa Cricket Limited - had been registered by Essel Corporation Mauritius. Essel owns Zee Entertainment, which set up the short-lived and controversial ICL in 2007.

NZC was made aware of the registrations, but have no information as to what Essel plan to do with the names.

"We have no inkling at this stage," board member Greg Barclay said.


"The first indication we had of anything overt being done was in December when Essel registered the corporations. We notified the ICC and they have taken it relatively seriously. They're quite interested to see what's going on."

Barclay is a director on the ICC, replacing Martin Snedden last year.

"The ICC will be going to Ten Sports directly to ask what is going on."

The ICL caused a huge ruckus when it was formed in 2007. The BCCI used its considerable might to block the venture and any player that signed up for the rebel league, including Shane Bond, was ostracised by their board.

The BCCI launched the Indian Premier League, which has become a money-making phenomenon, and the ICL was wound up in 2009.

There has been ongoing litigation between Essel/Zee, whose Ten Sports subsidiary is the host broadcaster for home internationals in Sri Lanka, South Africa and West Indies, over being shut out of the official Indian cricket market.

While it seems unlikely that they would attempt another franchise T20 league in India, the ICC are no doubt concerned the burgeoning United States market is the next battleground.

The USA is seen as an untapped market, with its huge subcontinental expat base. It is widely reported that the second-highest click rate for cricket news and information behemoth cricinfo.com is the US.


Traditional cricket authorities have failed to set up a sustainable model in the US, and Essel may see this as a viable option.

What it doesn't have is players. The formation of these companies and domain names such as worldcricketcouncil.co.in indicate Essel may be regrouping for another attack on cricket's established order.

Along with New Zealand, the Australian Cricket Board has also been alerted to the formation of an Australian Cricket Control Ltd, while in Edinburgh, Cricket Control Scotland Ltd has been formed.

Speaking to the Guardian, England Cricket Board's outgoing chairman Giles Clarke said: "We don't know the motives behind these registrations and need to know more. In the absence of any proper explanation, there is clearly a concern for cricket and the ECB.

"Ten Sports [Essel] are not a partner of the ECB so we've asked our colleagues at boards with whom there's a direct relationship to help in clarifying this situation with their broadcast partner."