US plays pied piper, woos Indians to Twenty20

Published: Saturday, June 12, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Capitalising on the compact version of the new Twenty20 cricket, the US has succeeded in wooing a sizeable number of second-string Indian players to compete in its Pro Cricket League to be launched next month.

The list, numbering more than 20, comprises "no current Indian players" or those who have been called up for the conditioning camp but includes several prominent names.

Vinod Kambli, former Test star and close buddy of batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, heads the pack followed by former India captain Ajay Jadeja, all-rounder Sanjay Bangar, and wicketkeeper batsman Deep Dasgupta.

Vijay Dahiya, Nikhil Chopra, Venkatapathy Raju, Jacob Martin, MSK Prasad, Rakesh Patel, Tinu Yohannan, Sarandeep Singh, Rahul Sanghvi, Tushar Arothe are among others who have agreed to participate in the league.

Former Test batsman and India coach Anshuman Gaekwad has been co-ordinating between the players and organiser Kalpesh Patel, an Indian entrepreneur based in New Jersey.

"The League is similar to club cricket played in England. We have roped in no current players," Gaekwad said.

"There will be eight teams and two Indians in each. The matches will be played at various venues in the US," he said.

"It is not as if the players will have to play throughout the weekend. They will play three-four games and will be replaced by others in the squad."

The 'mini' One-day International format, which was first introduced in the English league last year and became an instant success, is expected to suit the Americans who are used to the slam-bang action of baseball, American football and ice hockey.

Gaekwad said since the league was not official, the players did not need the permission from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

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