Mumbai:After maintaining a tough stand for close to two years, the Cricket Board on Wednesday lifted the ban on players aligned with the rebel ICL by offering a surprise "amnesty" which will make them eligible to play for the country again after a cooling period of one year.
The Indian Cricket League players have been given time till May 31 to severe ties with the Subhash Chandra-owned League, which was launched in 2007 but was not recognised by the ICC or the BCCI.
"The BCCI has decided to grant amnesty to all players, support staff and anyone else connected with ICL provided they cancel all their existing contracts with the ICL by May 31," BCCI President Shashank Manohar told a media conference here.
"But they will not be considered for international cricket for one year though they can play domestic cricket," he said.
The BCCI Chief said the Board took the decision after "a lot many players and support staff had approached us and admitted they had made a mistake and wanted to come back into the BCCI fold".
The BCCI's surprise move has paved the way for active ex-internationals like Dinesh Mongia, Hemang Badani and Rohan Gavaskar, coaches such as Sandeep Patil, Balwinder Sandhu and others on administrative side of the ICL like ex-captain Kapil Dev and Kiran More to return to the official body.
Manohar pointed out that the International Cricket Council had earlier this month rejected an ICL application to give it recognition, indirectly hinting this could be the reason for the players and others connected with ICL wishing to return to the official fold.
"They have admitted they made a mistake and we have decided to give them a chance," the Nagpur-based lawyer said.
But he also made it clear that as a measure of punishment for associating themselves with the rebel body those ex-players, whose monthly gratis was not remitted to them during their association with the ICL, would not be paid this amount even after they sever the ties.
"They will not be compensated. They will have to face some punishment and will not get the unpaid amount," he said.
The list of ex-players whose monthly gratis was stoppped by the BCCI includes current ICL Executive Director Kapil Dev and the amount works to Rs 35,000 per month.
The rebel ICL series was announced by Essel Group Chairman Subash Chandra soon after India's dismal performance in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies with the first edition of the event held in October that year.
The BCCI, which shortly after came up with the Indian Premier League, refused to recognise the ICL and announced a ban on players associated with the 'rebel' League.
The BCCI had also advised the other national boards to have a similar approach to the ICL, which had become a home for many disgruntled players from across the world.
The Cricket Board-promoted Indian Premier League, also based on the widely popular Twenty20 format, stole the thunder less than six months later with the highly successful first edition held in India last year.
The ICL decided not to stage its 2009 edition after last year's Mumbai terror attacks, citing security reasons.