The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Players plan pressure team

London, Sept. 6: The Indian players have, finally, decided on a representative body. Either the Association of Indian Cricketers (AIC) will be revived, around a dozen years after it went defunct, or a new set-up established.

Significantly, till a body formally comes into being, the players will be “represented” by two former captains — Mansur Ali Khan ‘Tiger’ Pataudi and Ravi Shastri — and Arun Lal. The latter, in fact, did much of the AIC’s work during the short time it was functional (1989-90).

Confirming this late in the evening, Shastri told The Telegraph: “This decision was taken Tuesday, at an informal session where Tiger, too, was present. Of course, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will be formally informed. More important, we expect its support.”

Shastri already is the Indian cricketers’ spokesman and did much of the talking during the Big Four’s interaction with the International Cricket Council (ICC) brass on Wednesday night.

Once either the AIC is or a new players’ body constituted, the Indians will seek affiliation to the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (Fica), which played a big role in the Player Terms controversy.

Meanwhile, even as the Indian cricketers and the ICC have reached an agreement on redrafting the terms (which will be specific to the September 12-30 Champions Trophy in Colombo), the BCCI has taken legal opinion and may not hesitate to send a second-string (“best available”) squad to Colombo.

That possibility would have been eliminated if the compensation/damages issue, which upstaged the terms row, was settled by tonight. Now, the BCCI’s working committee, which meets tomorrow, will probably take a “very tough stand”. Incidentally, some of the top legal brains will be present as special invitees.

While the ICC is firm that “any claim of compensation is hypothetical”, BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya is equally clear that, at no time, must the BCCI be saddled with “damages” arising out of the ICC’s understanding with the Indian players. (See Sport)

Contacted in Calcutta, Dalmiya said: “The BCCI is ready to compensate the cricketers, if they personally stand to lose by making themselves available. However, we won’t have anything to do with any loss suffered by the ICC’s commercial partners. The ICC should have categorically confirmed no damages will ever be thrust on the BCCI. It didn’t.”

The Indian players have agreed to abide by the terms for a period of 16 days till after the September 30 final. In effect, then, the no conflicting endorsements bit will end just before the second Test against the West Indies (Chennai, from October 17).

It’s feared that the ICC’s commercial partners (sponsors) could claim compensation for the terms’ period almost being halved. But, then, this ought to be settled by the ICC and the Global Cricket Corporation, which holds telecast/marketing rights for ICC events till the 2007 World Cup.

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