ICL cricketers head for courts

Four ICL cricketers who also play for English counties will move court after being denied the right to play county cricket.

updated: March 21, 2008 11:49 IST
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The battle over the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) is likely to go to an English court after the England and Wales Cricket Board refused county registration to five ICL players.

Lawyers working for the ICL are preparing the ground for a 'restraint of trade' suit. It seems likely that the ECB will face a number of individual cases, rather than a group action like the one Kerry Packer's players brought 30 years ago.

"Our clients are taking this extremely seriously and we will be supporting them," a lawyer representing the ICL was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph. "They find themselves in a nightmare situation where they have signed a contract with the counties in good faith and now they are not allowed to play."

The five players are Justin Kemp (Kent), Hamish Marshall (Gloucestershire), Wavell Hinds (Derbyshire), Andrew Hall and Johannes van der Wath (both Northamptonshire). They have all been excluded via a regulation requiring that non-England-qualified players should not have played for their home countries for the previous 12 months.

None of the counties plan to take legal action of their own, though Kent and Gloucestershire will appeal. Northamptonshire and Derbyshire both say they expected the ruling; they will accept it and move on.

Perhaps the worst scenario would be for the players to take legal action against the counties. That would have a knock-on effect if the counties lost and then sought reparation from the ECB.