Lalu Prasad Yadav backs ICL

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Thursday put his weight behind the Indian Cricket League.

updated: August 14, 2007 10:14 IST
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New Delhi:

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Thursday put his weight behind the Indian Cricket League.

His support came a day after the BCCI made it clear that players associating with the ICL will be barred from representing India.

The Railway Minister, who is himself the President of the Bihar Cricket Board, has gone to the extent of offering railway stadiums to the ICL.

"This is a good thing. There will be good competition. Many talented players will get encouragement. Those people who think they have not been recognised, or those who complain about not being selected will get a chance," said Lalu Prasad Yadav.

"If there is competition between Subhash Chandra and Pawar, it's a good thing. We will get
quality players," he added.

Asked if ICL would be able to use Railway stadiums, Yadav said, "Why not? We will definitely give them and charge rent."

The support is great news for the ICL who are still struggling to find enough stadiums. The Railways already own five stadiums that have already hosted Ranji Trophy games. They also control about 18 more grounds that can be spruced up to host matches.

The Essel Group, who are launching the inaugural ICL, have apparently lobbied hard with politicans to garner support, but the BCCI tried to brush off these developments.

"Laluji is involved with cricket and he has the right to form his opinion, but but our position is clear that we will not be associated with anybody who is associated with any other organisation,' said Rajiv Shukla, BCCI vice president.

The BCCI has, however, made it clear that they cannot approve of a breakway league like the ICL because it's purely for profit and that it does not have a democratic structure.

They claim that Kapil Dev can contribute perfectly well to cricket by being with the National Cricket Academy. Lastly they say that ICL cannot be shown on any other channle because its backed by Zee.

So just how worried is the BCCI by this venture will be known on August 21 when they meet in Mumbai to decide on Kapil's fate. If they remove him from his NCA job and withdraw his pension then it will be quite clear that its an all out war.