No, I’m not kidding, the BCCI has got a serious case of ICL-cooties. Check out the story here. There has got to be some limit to this.
First, they call ICL a rogue league, then they ban them from ever representing India. After that, they ban counties with ICL players to play in the recently announced Champions League. Now they are barring Indian cricketers from signing contracts with English counties who have ICL players/staff. It is noteworthy here to point out that only Middlesex, Somerset and Essex have teams without any ICL players (source Cricinfo).
This will deny opportunities for Piyush Chawla, VVS Laxman and Ajit Agarkar, who are about to sign contracts with English counties.
How far can the BCCI take this? Here are some thoughts:
1. Retroactively ban Indian cricketers Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble and Zaheer for having associated themselves with counties that now have ICL players. (As an aside, this will be Dhoni’s dream come true – a nice way to get rid of the seniors once and for all)
2. Get ICC to revoke international-status for cricket grounds belonging to counties with ICL staff. Further revoke such privileges from all grounds worldwide where an ICL player has set foot (again retroactively also). This will date back to ICL player’s pre-ICL days.
3. Stop buying any gear from all brands sported by ICL players
4. Ban all Test playing and affiliate nations from using colors used by ICL-bearing English counties, ICL teams, and ICL players (including their off-time)
5. Ban any future talent from playing matches in any form of cricket world who have had any association with ICL players, again retroactively applied. This includes friends and neighbors of ICL players, people who visit or own grocery stores, movie theatres, shopping malls, or any other public place graced by any ICL member.
I think I could go on, but you get the idea.
While I’m not surprised that the ECB hasn’t done anything about this yet, I would expect some kind of backlash, at least to save face. England should pull out of their tour of India in protest and suspend hosting any future tours of India until the issue is resolved.
This whole BCCI vs. ICL issue has been ridiculous. Kapil Dev’s ICL after all was started with good intent: to groom young Indian talent by providing them opportunites to play against international quality opposition. The BCCI have successfully thwarted them. Fellow blogger Q has suggested that they are left no other option but to take their cricket elsewhere, like the UAE. Perhaps that is the only alternative they have now to survive.