|ICL players face county bar|
|Saturday, 01 March 2008|
Agence France-Presse . London
Shane Bond’s contract to play for English county Hampshire this season has been called into question because of the player’s links with the ‘rebel’ Indian Cricket League after officials warned it would be taken into account when assessing his registration.
Former New Zealand quick Bond, 32, signed by Hampshire as early-season cover for Shane Warne, and Pakistan’s Rana Naved, due to play for Yorkshire, featured in November’s inaugural ICL.
But the ICL is opposed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India , which has organised its own Twenty20 event, the Indian Premier League, due to get underway in April. Unlike the ICL, the IPL has International Cricket Council backing, with many of the world’s top players signed up on highly lucrative contracts.
Bond took part in the inuagural ICL in November after it offered him the kind of financial security he could only dream about as a New Zealand player.
In October the ICC ruled no contracted international player could be released for the rebel league, effectively ending Bond’s New Zealand career, and ruling the injury-prone fast bowler out of his country’s forthcoming tour of England.
The England and Wales Cricket Board, following a ‘a full report on the impact and threat of unauthorised events to the infrastructure of the sport’, said in a statement here Wednesday: ‘The ECB board are determined to disassociate and distance itself from any promotor, agent or individual involved in such events.’
The statement added: ‘It was further noted that unqualified cricketers requiring a ‘no objection certificate’ to be registered for cricket in England and Wales are unlikely to receive such certificates from their home boards if they participate in unauthorised events.
‘In order to protect the genuine interests in the development of grassroots and county cricket and protecting anti-doping and anti-corruption measures, the ECB policy to condemn unauthorised events will be taken into consideration when evaluating any application to register players for county cricket.’
It is unlikely that any top-flight English players will participate in the IPL as the dates for the tournament, between April and June, clash with the start of the domestic season and are at a time when Test matches will be taking place in England.
England duo Chris Read and Paul Nixon, two players whose international careers appear to be over, featured in the first edition of the ICL. The ECB reiterated Wednesday its October warning that playing in the ICL would adversely affect a player’s chances of international selection.
‘This policy clearly demonstrates a preference towards players and officials who do not participate in unofficial events.’ Counties received a similar warning over staging unsanctioned matches. ‘No member, or venue receiving any funding from the ECB, will be allowed to host such events.’ Traditionally, counties have had little control over where their players earn money during the off-season.
But the ECB said one way of preventing them taking part in the ICL or other ‘rebel’ events was for players to be given year-long contracts. ‘All counties will be actively supported and encouraged to enter into 12-month playing contracts,’ the ECB statement said.
Cricket administrators argue they must take action against events such as the ICL in order to ensure the money from Test matches and one-day internationals which funds the sport at all levels isn’t diverted elsewhere.
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