India's cricket chiefs intensified the battle against an unofficial multi-million dollar league on Tuesday by removing the legendary Kapil Dev as head of the the country's junior academy.
Dev, India's lone World Cup winning captain, is regarded the brain behind the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL) which has signed up international stars and domestic players for the next three years.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which met here on Tuesday, sacked Dev, 48, from the honorary post of chairman of the Bangalore-based National Cricket Academy (NCA).
The BCCI also decided to bar those Indian players aligned to the ICL from playing first-class cricket, hence making them ineligible for selection in national teams.
"Every individual has a right whether he wants to associate himself with the BCCI or any other organisation," BCCI treasurer N. Srinivasan told reporters after day-long meetings.
"However, if he chooses to associate himself with any other organisation, he will not derive any benefit or be connected with any of BCCI's activities in any way.
"You can't have a foot in both places. That's why Kapil has ceased to be the chairman of the NCA."
There was no immediate comment from Dev, whose one-year term as NCA chairman was due to end next month.
Dev had said at an ICL media briefing on Monday that "if the BCCI officials so want, they can remove me as the NCA chairman. I'm ready for that."
The ICL, bankrolled by media baron Subhash Chandra who owns India's largest listed media company Zee Telefilms, plans to hold Twenty20 tournaments between city teams for the next three years.
ICL officials said on Monday they had already signed up seven international stars and 44 Indian first-class cricketers, adding that more top players from around the world were expected to join.
Former Test captains Brian Lara of the West Indies and Inzamam-ul Haq of Pakistan lead the ICL list that also includes Pakistanis Mohammad Yousuf, Abdul Razzaq and Imran Farhat and South Africans Lance Klusener and Nicky Boje.
Among the Indian first-class players signed up are all-rounder Dinesh Mongia, who toured Bangladesh with the Indian team in May, and former internationals Deep Dasgupta and Jai Prakash Yadav.
No member of the Indian team currently touring England has been linked with the cash-rich ICL which plans to hold the inaugural event later this year.
Dev, one of the game's finest all-rounders, retired in 1994 with a then world record tally of 434 Test wickets and 5,248 runs from 131 matches.
He also played 225 one-dayers, scoring 3,783 runs and claiming 253 wickets.