Karachi: International Cricket Council (ICC) president Malcolm Gray on Thursday played down India's player contract row and said he hoped the parties involved could resolve the matter within weeks.
"I think the contract row thing is a slight aggravation. I understand the positions and I hope that within the next week or two we will be able to get a resolution in the matter," Gray said on his arrival in neighbouring Pakistan. Reports from India suggested the dispute over player contracts showed no sign of resolution, as India failed to name a preliminary World Cup squad on the set deadline of November 30. The eighth World Cup is due to be held in South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe next February and is feared to be hit by the contract crisis. The row erupted before the ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka in September, when Indian star players refused to sign contracts, which prevented them from endorsing non-official sponsors for 30 days before and after an ICC event. The cricketers also declined to let their images be used by official sponsors for six months after the event, as specified in ICC player contracts. Gray said India's failing to name Cup probables was not a major concern. "I would hope that the Indian squad would be announced in the next few days," Gray said. "There is no real reason why the Indian people can't do it." Gray said ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed recently visited India and was satisfied with the progress. "Considerable amount of work was done during Speeds visit and that has helped a lot, not just with the players but with the sponsors, and we have a separate ICC Contract World Cup committee dealing with the matter," Gray said. ICC, however, faces a ticklish issue in the days ahead to ensure the best players take part in the World Cup. "We have been meeting through telephone virtually twice a week, and yes it is progressing well," he said, though he admitted the matter had yet to be solved. "We are not there yet." Gray, who took over as ICC president last year, was due to meet Pakistan President Musharraf in the capital Islamabad late Thursday ahead of an ICC meeting in the Eastern border city of Lahore on December 7 and 8.
BCCI, ICC meet on Dec 9 to resolve contract row