Mon, Jul 30, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Indian rebel league woos Sri Lankans


A wealthy rebel league in India seems set to take Sri Lankan cricket by storm as several top players have been approached to join the lucrative series, sources said yesterday.

The Indian Cricket League promoted by Zee Telefilms, the country's largest lmedia group, features six teams that will play Twenty20 matches across India.

Each team in the league, which has not been recognized by the International Cricket Council or the Board of Control for Cricket in India, will have four international players, two Indian stars and eight up-and-coming players.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) sources said several players were privately approached by agents during a series here with Bangladesh, but that the SLC would not allow any contracted players to join the rebel league.

"If they go ahead and join the league, the result would be similar to the 1982 rebel tour to South Africa," an SLC source said.

Fourteen Sri Lankan cricketers led by Bandula Warnapura were banned for 25 years in 1982 for playing in the South African series.

But press reports here said that retired Russel Arnold has accepted the offer and is negotiating with the new league.

Arnold was not available for comment.

At least two other Sri Lankan star players have been offered contracts ranging from US$500,000 to US$600,000 for each of the three years in the playing contract.

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