Ponting takes a dig at ICL

Published: Sunday, July 29, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australia captain Ricky Ponting has said that big money ventures like Essel Group-promoted Indian Cricket League (ICL) would do no good to cricket but rather could induce ageing players retire prematurely from international scene.

Australian greats Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath were reportedly being offered six-figure sums to join the ICL bandwagon though the two Aussies have not confirmed their participation in the parallel venture.

''It's only a concern if there is huge money involved in it,'' Ponting said.

''The other thing being talked about is this (Allen) Stanford guy in the West Indies. The US$23 million he's said to be offering is a concern because the way I look at it is people getting towards the end of their international career will look at it and think, If I'm guaranteed that, this kind of money might be a good thing,'' he told Sunday Sydney Morning Herald.

One of the reasons given by the promoters of ICL to start their venture was to groom young talents from different countries, but Ponting believes the offer of a Twenty20 tournament will not help the young cricketers to learn the game.

''I'm not sure what these 18- or 19-year-olds will learn from Twenty20 cricket."

''I can't see how Twenty20 cricket will do much in giving them an upbringing in learning much about the game."

''I read where Deano (Dean Jones) said it will help these guys out. It won't help them out; it will help Deano out. It will help the people running the event,'' he added, taking a dig at Jones.

Australia, New Zealand and Indian cricket boards have said that they would not allow any of their contracted players, at national and state levels, to take part in any tournament which does not enjoy official sanction by the ICC, as is the case with ICL.

ICL eyeing to recruit Inzy: Meanwhile Inzamam-ul Haq, who was snubbed from the newly released central contract list, now may switch loyalities, with the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL) approaching the former Pakistan skipper, UNI reports from Lahore.

Inzamam becomes the latest international star to have been approached after the ICL signed up Brian Lara as its first major signing and negotiations are on to recruit the star players from Down Under Warne, McGrath and Fleming.

The former captain, who announced his retirement from one-day cricket after Pakistan's disastrous World Cup campaign, confirmed that ICL officials had contacted him.

''They have been in touch with me and I am considering their offer,'' Inzamam said.

''If the terms are right, I will play,'' he added.

The PCB recently announced that their centrally contracted players would not be allowed to join the private league but kept the door open for former internationals or players who were not in contract with the board.

Incidentally, Inzamam was dropped from the contracted list.

The players it has targeted so far, however, are those who have retired from international cricket in one form or another.

The 37-year-old Pakistani batsman said he believed the league would ultimately work to Indians' advantage.

''What harm is there if it means that more people will watch cricket, come to the grounds and watch stars in action? It furthers the profile of cricket,'' he opined.

According to Inzamam, ultimately it boils down to the financial benefit to the players.

''Players who are out of favour, or not international cricketers, or who are nearing the end of their careers will rightly see this as an opportunity to benefit financially and I don't see anything wrong with that.''

''For younger players too, there are rewards. Playing alongside players such as Lara or McGrath can only be a good thing for your development as a young player.'' Though Inzamam's own international career is hanging at uncertainity, he has made it clear that he wants to carry on playing Test cricket ''for as long as he felt he is performing.''


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