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BCCI set to launch new corporate ‘venture’
- Day-night meet likely to allow players from overseas

Calcutta, Jan.11: Even as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is indirectly at ‘war’ with some in the commercial sector, it has plans to launch a star-spangled Corporate Cup.

Edition No.1, to be held exclusively under floodlights, is likely this April-May.

It’s not insignificant that the Asia Cup, to be hosted by Bangladesh, is India’s sole commitment during that period. In other words, the top players will be available for a domestic meet.

According to a well-placed source of The Telegraph, the modalities will be discussed by the BCCI’s working committee at its next meeting — in New Delhi, on January 21-22.

“That we should introduce the tournament, from this summer, was okayed by the office-bearers who met here last month. However, for the idea to move ahead, the working committee’s endorsement is necessary,” the source added.

One understands the Cup will feature a maximum of six teams. Interestingly, there’s a proposal that each outfit be allowed three-four players from overseas. If not anything else, that one provision alone will raise the meet’s profile a few notches.

Besides, even for the desi players, there won’t be “territorial restrictions.” For example, a Sachin Tendulkar could be fielded by a New Delhi-headquartered corporate house. Or, for that matter, Sourav Ganguly by a Chennai-based commercial giant.

The format and related matters, of course, will be finalised after the working committee has endorsed the office-bearers’ informal decision. The idea, though, is to make the Cup an annual (day-night) event.

While it’s not clear whether it will be sponsored, a hefty participation fee is likely. And, while nobody is talking about it openly, it won’t surprise if the rules are such that corporate houses not playing ball with the BCCI (on the Player Terms dispute, specifically) won’t be eligible.

While on-field excitement is guaranteed, there may be much ‘action’ off it as well. The summer of 2003 promises to be different.

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