| Kapil Dev
Calcutta: Zeeís Subhas Chandra has pulled off a coup by convincing Indiaís solitary World Cup-winning captain, Kapil Dev, to chair the Executive Board of the Indian Cricket League (ICL). He is, after all, chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)-run National Cricket Academy. Indeed, now, there are bound to be red faces within the BCCI.
Also on the Executive Board is former England captain Tony Greig, who played a leading role in the late Kerry Packerís awesome WSC venture three decades ago. That, incidentally, changed cricket beyond recognition.
Despite a tight schedule on Monday, Kapil found the time to return a call from The Telegraph and answered questions specific to the ICL, which was launched some five weeks back.
The following are excerpts
On the ICL being perceived as anti-BCCI
But why are you looking at it that way' Is there any conflict between the Moin-ud-Dowlah and the BCCI' Has there been a conflict between the Sheesh Mahal tournament and the BCCI' Do they require the BCCIís sanction' Our league will provide an opportunity to so many youngstersÖ Good performances are bound to be noticed... Thereís going to be plenty of Twenty20, a form of cricket which is quickly gaining popularity.
On whether the ICL will clash with the BCCIís showpiece events, the Ranji Trophy and the Duleep Trophy
No... Thatís not our idea... The schedule is going to be such that thereís no conflict... We wonít stop anybody from playing for his state and for India... We want to promote, not be an obstacle... I trust you will appreciate what weíve set out to do and view this venture positively.
On his being the Academy chairman from last September
If the BCCI wants me to resign, then itís another matter... I donít see a problem in holding positions in separate organisations... There or here, my goal is the same... In any case Iím not employed by the BCCI. Isnít Kiran (More) an office-bearer of the Baroda Cricket Association and, thereby, a member of the BCCI' He, too, is on the ICLís Executive Board.
On what made him join the ICL
First, the desire to create more opportunities for our cricketers... Second, itís a chance to prove my worth as an administrator. I know I wonít get to head the BCCI, for Iím not a member of the Haryana Cricket Association, the affiliated state unit to which I belong... The ICL gives me a platform. Let me add that only those whoíve played for the country can sit on the Executive Board. The ICL is for cricketers and is going to be run by them. This wonít change.
On the ICLís USP
It will have top players from overseas... Surely, our cricketers are going to benefit when they play against, say, a Brian Lara or a Glenn McGrath.
On whether he will have a hand in recruiting big names
(Laughs) My job is to administer... There are others to take care of that and negotiations are underway.
On the strong possibility of the state associations refusing use of grounds owned/managed by them
Why should they do that' Iíve already told you we arenít in competition with the BCCI... We want to complement its activities and create a wider pool... As somebody who follows cricket, donít you think (Ashish) Nehra and (Lakshmipathy) Balaji, for example, deserve more opportunities to press for a comeback' Isnít it the job of administrators to take the game forward' If somebody wants to be an impediment, he mustnít be in any position of authority. Iím quite clear about that.
Finally, on the possibility of the BCCI introducing a clause in the playersí contracts forbidding association with private leagues
If that does happen, itís going to be most unfortunate... Why should players not get more opportunities' However, I remain confident that the BCCI wonít take such steps.