Speed optimistic after meeting; Saurav is uncertain

Published: Thursday, September 5, 2002, 16:24 [IST]
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London: The participation of India's leading players in next week's International Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy tournament in Sri Lanka remained uncertain on Wednesday though ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said he had held constructive talks with them.

The sponsorship row has seen stars such as Sachin Tendulkar so far refuse to sign their contracts for the One-day tournament. India is in London for the decisive fourth Test against England at The Oval on Thursday and tour manager Ranga Reddy said, "The players are still meeting with Ravi Shastri (team representative and former India spinner)." Speed, however, sounded an optimistic note when he spoke later about the discussions. "It's been a good meeting and a lot of progress has been made," the Australian said. Speed was also confident that players from another three countries would sign their contracts on Thursday. "We hope the Australians, English and Sri Lankan players will sign their Champions Trophy contracts on Thurdsay," he said. India captain Saurav Ganguly himself had not been optimistic about the meeting's chances of breaking the deadlock, telling reporters earlier on Wednesday, "I would say it looks like we are not going. But at the same time there has been a little bit of progress to solve the problem." The meeting was held at the request of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which hoped a face-to-face encounter might end the stand-off.

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