The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Players spring back-off solution
- Temporary truce suggested to rescue Champions Trophy in Colombo

Leeds, Aug. 27: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which was looking for a “starting point” to overcome the Player Terms imbroglio, will be handed an opening: All the Indian cricketers currently in England are willing to sign the terms provided the language is altered somewhat and the contract is specific to next month’s Champions Trophy only.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, this will be formally conveyed by captain Sourav Ganguly to BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya. Further, Sourav may “request” the president to make it convenient for a one-to-one with the players. Dalmiya, in any case, will be heading for Dubai, where the International Cricket Council (ICC) executive board meets at the weekend.

Incidentally, that the Indians could actually conditionally sign the terms was reported in the paper’s Late City edition today. Of course, it is to be seen whether the terms can be redrafted by the ICC. Also, one isn’t sure to what extent the BCCI will be able to call for the language to be amended.

Though the cricketers had appointed former captain Ravi Shastri as their spokesman, Sourav has himself taken the lead to effect a “compromise”. As is known, the BCCI declined to deal with Shastri.

The ball started rolling, so to say, after India’s most emphatic win at Headingley yesterday.

For starters, the seniors had an informal session where it was agreed to “persuade” their personal sponsors to put all promotional activity (which will clash with the ICC’s own partners) on hold during the September 12-30 event in Colombo. Then, Shastri was informed.

“Look, at no time did we say we don’t wish to play.... Our point was (and is) that we can’t sign the obviously feudal terms. And, as the BCCI kept asking for some breathing space, we’ve agreed to go along, but with modifications. Clearly, we won’t sign the terms as it exists,” said one of the seniors, when contacted at the Marriott in Derby.

Whatever the other considerations, the players have themselves probably realised it’s best to work towards a compromise right now, instead of being party to a bigger controversy in the build-up to the February-March World Cup.

Also, with the series 1-1 and the decider at The Oval less than 10 days away (from September 5), the cricketers want the present “uncertainty” to end. After all, the terms issue has become “pretty draining”.

Significantly, as the players are firm on not signing the terms in its current form, the crisis won’t be over in the next few days. After all, the BCCI will have to interact with the ICC and the sport’s governing body will have to initiate a review — if at all.

Assuming the cricketers get fresh terms, they will first refer that document to a lawyer. It could well be the same gentleman who drafted their rather stinging public statement last Monday.

Moreover, when the terms imbroglio is resolved, the players will seek the BCCI’s blessings for a cricketers’ body. And, then, engage in “discussions” over revenue sharing. The latter arrangement is already in place in some countries.

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