Sat, Aug 25, 2007 - Page 20 News List

BCCI to organize official Twenty20 series to rival ICL

AFP, NEW DELHI

India's cricket chiefs may organize a glitzy Twenty20 series of their own to cut an unofficial multi-million dollar league to size, a newspaper said on Thursday.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is planning a high-profile event with international stars, similar to the one the Indian Cricket League (ICL) has announced, the Economic Times reported.

And to match the charisma of ICL's chief executive Kapil Dev, the BCCI may rope in India's other legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar to run the series called the Professional Cricket League, the paper said.

The new league could see state teams taking part with a mix of current Indian stars like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, upcoming domestic players and international stars.

BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi, who is charged with garnering sponsorships and funds for official cricket in India, hinted the new project may be on the anvil.

"I cannot currently comment on the matter," Modi told the Economic Times. "Work is in progress, and when things firm up, we will make an official announcement."

Another unnamed BCCI official told the paper: "We already have the infrastructure in place, and the fact that we are the BCCI will give us a much better negotiating stand with international players and boards, to sign up with us."

The breakaway ICL, bankrolled by media baron Subhash Chandra who owns India's largest listed media company Zee Telefilms, plans to hold Twenty20 tournaments between city teams for the next three years.

ICL officials said on Monday they had already signed up seven international stars and 44 Indian first-class cricketers, adding that more top players from around the world were expected to join.

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