Mumbai: With the Indian Cricket League stepping up its efforts to rope in star players, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday made it clear that any cricketer who aligns with the rebel body will be banned for life from playing for India.
The BCCI also said that players signing up for the ICL will also be barred from taking part in all domestic tournaments.
“Our stand is very clear. Players who take part in the ICL will never be eligible to play for the country again. It is up to the players to decide what they want to do”, BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said in Mumbai on Friday.
Asked whether the ban would also be applicable for young players who have not played for the country yet, Shah said, “definitely. It is applicable for all players.”
Shah said the BCCI will take a decision on Kapil Dev’s fate as the Chairman of National Cricket Academy at its General Body Meeting in Mumbai on August 21.
“The Board’s General Body Meeting has been called where this issue will be discussed among a host of other issues,” he said.
Taking a potshot at the ICL, Shah said the BCCI was not worried by the development as the league would attract only the veteran players.
ICL, a brainchild of Subhash Chandra-owned Essel Group, have already signed up former West Indian captain Brian Lara for the series and are said to have approached many other former and current stars from different countries.
Many former Indian players including Kapil, Kiran More, Sandeep Patil, Madan Lal and Balwinder Singh Sandhu have joined the ICL in various capacities.
The ICL plans to hold its inaugural Twenty20 league over a period of 45 days starting in October.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has also taken a similar stand on the ICL and has warned that any current player signing up for the rebel tournament will face a ban.
The PCB has also decided to act tough against former players who are associated with the Board and accepting the ICL offer.
The BCCI’s threat to take action against players who join the ICL drew a stinging reaction from Kapil Dev, who said the Board’s hostility towards the series stemmed from its fear of being overshadowed.
“BCCI should not be threatening players because they cannot perform on the field under fear,” Kapil, Chairman of ICL Executive Board, said.
“The Board is scared of ICL. That is the only reason it is not willing to talk to us,” Kapil added.
Kapil also reacted strongly to BCCI President Sharad Pawar’s statement that the rebel series would be a flop as it would fail to find enough spectators.
“The statement that the BCCI President has made is shameful. If the the Board thinks that only the national XI can attract crowds, then it should stop conducting any domestic tournament,” he said.