The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Players take guard for a body

Mumbai, Oct. 8: Indian cricketers moved a step closer to forming a players’ body after a one-hour interaction between “almost the entire team” and Arun Lal, founder-secretary of the defunct Association of Indian Cricketers (AIC), at the Taj late Tuesday afternoon.

Lal is one of three former players, others being ex-captains Mansur Ali Khan ‘Tiger’ Pataudi and Ravi Shastri, designated to “represent” the cricketers till such time that an association is (again) formed.

“Membership forms will soon be circulated and a draft of the constitution discussed with the seniors,” Lal said.

“Everybody wants a body. Equally, this shouldn’t be seen as confronting the board. Rather, we will be complementing it and ensuring a channel for communicating,” he added.

That the players wanted an association was decided in England itself, during the height of the controversy over terms. Yet, not everybody could have been very clear about the objectives and exactly how it ought to come into being. Lal, a veteran, covered both during the time he spent with “almost the entire team”.

“Besides briefing them, I emphasised they should come on board only if they believed in what was being done. Well, nobody had anything contrary to say” is how Lal, tipped to be the new body’s secretary, put it. He confirmed the AIC won’t be revived.

“The cricketers are keen on a ‘new’ start and so it will be.”

The launch could coincide with the end of the Test series (November 3) against the West Indies. For purposes of registration, the association will require eight founder-members.

The board, for its part, has already declared that a body will be “welcomed” provided it isn’t formed on the lines of a union.

Board president Jagmohan Dalmiya, too, met the players during the day. Only, his interaction was limited to the Big Four: Captain Sourav Ganguly, vice-captain Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble.

Though Dalmiya declined to comment on his hour-long meeting, he probably largely spoke about the terms. He is now on the ICC committee formed exclusively to resolve that issue before the World Cup.

This was Dalmiya’s first formal interaction with the cricketers after the terms row erupted in mid-August. Apparently, this meeting came about after a one-on-one (in Calcutta) between Sourav and Dalmiya at the weekend.

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