ABU DHABI // The proposed Indian Champions League is fighting to stay afloat in a protracted dispute with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). After locking horns with the other three boards of the proposed four-nation club-based tournament planned to take place at the end of September, India had decided to take the back seat.
The chief organiser, and Indian board vice-president, Lalit Modi struck a defiant note yesterday when he said that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) could still go ahead without English sides. As things stand it seems likely to be a posturing stand-off, with the final outcome expected later this week. The ECB confirmed that they will not be sending any team, not even the Twenty20 Cup champions Middlesex, to the proposed competition.
Middlesex and Kent had qualified by reaching the final of the kncokout competition for English counties, but the latter have two players affiliated to the rebel Indian Cricket League which is not recognised by the BCCI. Modi reiterated that he had teams from other nations, in particular Pakistan and Sri Lanka, lined up to fill the gap left by the absence of English sides. It will not be that easy to keep the competition running, with bombs in Banglaore and Amedabad triggering another wave of concern over security among the other participating nations, South Africa and Australia.
With the only playing window available for an event being the week beginning Sept 30, it remains to be seen which of the competing proposals find general consensus and who Cricket South Africa and Cricket Australia will side with. Indian sources believed that the tournament had been cancelled due to the impasse with England. "We have been told that the Champions League is off," a senior board official had said on Sunday.
Another, from the Rajasthan Royals team, said that a senior organiser from the Indian Premier League had told them to defer plans for the event. The Royals and the Chennai Super Kings had qualified as the top two teams from the Indian Premier League, the competition that really increased worldwide interest in Twenty20. Modi claimed that he has as many as four broadcasters are lined up to fund the event, while the ECB has claimed the support of a businessman prepared to offer £30million (Dh210m) prize money.
Unlike India's proposal, where the BCCI would be entitled to a 50 per cent share of income, the rival tournament would have a 25 per cent share for each of the four participating nations. The International Cricket Council will discuss safety for the Champions Trophy, to be held in Pakistan, following the bomb attacks in neighbouring India. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org More cricket s2-3