The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Board awaits signals after Test

Leeds, Aug. 25: The dialogue between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the players currently in England could resume after the Headingley Test. There has been no formal communication between the two since last Monday.

“The cricketers are firm on not signing the Player Terms and, in their opinion, the ball is in the BCCI’s court. Well, for this game to resume, they must show some flexibility... Perhaps do what the Australian and England cricketers intend doing,” said a source of The Telegraph.

According to the source, it’s not an ego issue with BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya and, clearly, he “isn’t averse” to speaking to the players. Only, they must indicate a willingness to interact positively. Till the breakdown, Dalmiya was in regular touch with captain Sourav Ganguly and senior pro Anil Kumble.

The BCCI, though, would like the cricketers to at least clear one point: Whether they wish to interact with the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (Fica) and players’ bodies elsewhere, or depend on the BCCI to press their case within the ICC.

Significantly, while the cricketers are convinced the BCCI didn’t seek to protect their rights, when signing the Participating Nation Agreement (PNA) for next month’s Champions Trophy in Colombo, the factual position is somewhat different.

As the source put it, the BCCI “remains the only Test-playing nation” to have made a commitment “conditionally”. The signing proper, by BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah, was done in late June.

In fact, the BCCI specifically wrote to the ICC: “This refers to the PNA for the ICC Champions Trophy, 2002. We will sign the agreement, but would like to categorically state it will not be possible to agree to certain provisions of the agreement which are as follows....”

Among the clauses mentioned is 13, which has raised the players’ hackles.

The clause includes: “The squad member shall not (from 30 days before the first match until 30 days after the last match in the event), directly or indirectly allow his name, voice, image, likeness or other representation to be used either (a) in any advertising or endorsement or (b) for any commercial purpose in any media whatsoever by or on behalf of a competitor of any official sponsor or global partner or official supplier.…”

The BCCI’s own observation, as conveyed to the ICC, was: “We have distinct problems in complying with the clause in its totality. For instance, we can’t prevent our players from not taking part in any advertisement or endorsement from 30 days before the event till 30 days after the event. We do not interfere with such rights of the players because it directly affects their fundamental rights under the Constitution of India.…”

The ICC, of course, replied that the terms (part of the PNA) could not be amended. But, as the source pointed out, the BCCI’s point of view “is already on record” and if the cricketers sign the terms (conditionally), then the BCCI has a “starting point” to tackle the issue at the Executive Board level.

As already announced, the board meets in Dubai later this week. The BCCI will be represented by Dalmiya but, right now, he doesn’t have an ace up his sleeve.

That’s unusual but, then, it’s an unusual time.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan players’ body has upped the ante. Included in its representation to the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka is the demand for a share of the guarantee money from the ICC.

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