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If you are not with us, you are against us: BCCI to ICL hopefuls

Published: Monday, August 20, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
 
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New Delhi: In an ultimatum to Kapil Dev and others who have, or wish to, join the ICL, the BCCI today made it loud and clear: 'If you are not with us, you are against us'.

In a meeting at the board president Sharad Pawar's residence in the capital, the BCCI sought to uphold an individual's right to choose but with a rider: choose between us or them.

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''It is every individual's right to decide whether he wishes to associate with the BCCI or any other organisatison,'' said BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla, reading out a statement after the meeting.

''However, if he associates himself with any other organisation, he will not be able to derive any benefits from the BCCI or be associated with any of its activities,'' he added.

He refused to directly comment on the fate of NCA chief Kapil Dev, who is also the chairman of the ICL Executive Board, saying that his fate would be decided in its meeting on Aug 21 in Mumbai

The BCCI and the ICL have been entangled in an acrimonius war of words with certain officials of the Board even threatening a life ban on the cricketers who join the breakaway league.

Pawarplays safe: However Pawar on Tuesdayhinted at a softened stand when he said that the Board would not ban players who join the Indian Cricket League (ICL).

''There is no confrontation between the BCCI and ICL, it is a media creation,''Pawar said. ''We did not issue any statement on banning anybody for life.'' Kapil Dev, chairman of ICL's executive board, said he was happy with Pawar's comment.

''It is a positive statement and I welcome it wholeheartedly,'' Kapil told reporters. ''I have great regard for Pawar and with this statement he has enhanced his stature as a true lover of sport, especially cricket. We at the ICL are grateful to him for making the BCCI's stand clear.

''The ICL has been formed to give a boost to the game in the country. It is in no way, and I repeat in no way, a parallel body or in competition with the BCCI.'' Kapil said the ICL would provide opportunities for players but would not interfere with their national team duties.

''For example if Sachin [Tendulkar] agrees to play in the ICL and is also selected to represent the country, he will have to perform his national duty first. I will not let him play the ICL at the cost of the country,'' he said.

UNI

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