The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Players draw battlelines for Round II

Calcutta, Sept. 21: Having made the most of the presence of 12 teams in the Champions Trophy, the Barry Richards-headed Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (Fica) is going into overdrive.

For instance, it will “formally” place the jumbo misgivings over the Player Terms before the International Cricket Council (ICC), ahead of its September 30 executive board meeting in Colombo.

As the ICC has recognised Fica by inviting joint chief executive Tim May to cricket committee (playing) meetings, spiking any “representation” won’t quite be the season’s most sensible move. Going by what May said this afternoon, the formal representation (looking to the 2003 World Cup) will be unambiguous and strong.

Speaking to The Telegraph from the Colombo Hilton, May cautioned the ICC against acting on a proposal (by New Zealand) to ban cricketers who make themselves unavailable on commercial (conflicting sponsorship) grounds.

“I hope better sense will prevail and the ICC won’t even discuss the issue… It’s outrageous… A ban can be thought of only if the ICC’s Code of Conduct is violated… Moreover, any contract signed under duress can’t be enforced.”

[The controversial proposal was tabled during the board’s emergent meeting in Dubai. Indeed, but for Jagmohan Dalmiya’s stinging objection, it would have been passed then itself. Now, it is expected to be discussed in Colombo.]

Though the Indians aren’t affiliated to Fica, “the entire team”, as director Richard Bevan put it, was present during Fica’s interaction with “around 140 players” on Thursday.

A move to either form a new body or revive the Association of Indian Cricketers is already underway. Step No. 2 will be the Fica affiliation.

Ravi Shastri, the cricketers’ spokesman, has been in fairly regular contact with May and Bevan, but the “two-way relationship” between Fica and the Indian players actually began at that interaction. Of course, not everybody in the Indian board is going to be too delighted.

While only the Indian cricketers have been affected by the terms’ no-conflicting-endorsements clause in the ongoing tournament, May said “Australians and South Africans” will also be hurt during the World Cup.

“While the Indian issue is complicated, Fica is looking at the broader picture… Protecting all players is our priority. At the same time, even the ICC-Global Cricket Corporation deal (till the 2007 World Cup) needs protection,” he remarked.

May added: “In any case, the cricketers would definitely like to be briefed about the ICC’s own contract… For example, to what extent can it be flexible' The ICC hasn’t really been speaking in one voice…”

Significantly, Fica is willing to give a confidentiality-undertaking to the ICC.

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