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ICC warms to India’s best
- Panel recommends ‘provisional’ acceptance of contract

Calcutta, Jan. 23: In a significant development, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC’s) World Cup contracts committee is understood to have recommended that the Indians’ conditional signing of the Player Terms be “provisionally” accepted by IDI Limited, the business arm of the ICC.

This (“practical”) recommendation, one learns, will be revealed to the IDI directors — all 15 of whom also serve on the ICC’s executive board — during the tele-conference of the millennium, at 3.30 pm (IST) tomorrow.

And, so, unless there’s a dramatic shift, the Sourav Ganguly-led squad will head for South Africa while the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the ICC will meet at the arbiters’ table in Lausanne — of course, after the February 8-March 25 showpiece.

Officially, the IDI board has a straightforward option: Either to return the conditional signing and call for a fresh squad or accept the same and refer it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in Lausanne. Well-placed sources of The Telegraph have indicated there will be a “sincere effort” to push for option No. 2.

Initially, though, there was talk that attitudes within the ICC/IDI could harden, specially after yesterday’s interim order of Delhi High Court.

“Respecting the larger interest, the contracts committee has taken the least-damage-to-the-ICC route. Moreover, the sport’s most ambitious event ought not to be dwarfed by any controversy,” is how a source put it.

The IDI board, however, is likely to add a recommendation of its own — that India’s share of around $9 million (as one of the 14 participating nations) be put in a trust account till the arbitration is complete.

Incidentally, ICC president Malcolm Gray and vice-president Ehsan Mani, both of whom are on the IDI board, also figure in the contracts committee. Unlike the heads of all 10 Test-playing nations and the three Associate members, though, they don’t enjoy voting rights on the board.

Meanwhile, speaking from New Delhi, BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya said he would go along with arbitration but would oppose the freezing of only India’s payments.

For tactical reasons, Dalmiya will hook-up from the capital itself.

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