Mumbai: West Indies batting legend Brian Lara on Sunday urged state and national cricket boards to officially recognise a rebel Twenty20 league slated to begin next week in northern India.
Lara, the highest run scorer in Test cricket, said he was disappointed by the decision of the cricket boards to ban players who sign up with the Indian Cricket League (ICL).
"The reaction from the established cricket bodies was on expected lines but still I was disappointed," Lara said here.
"The intentions are quite honourable and I hope down the line people will understand what this league is all about and accept it," he said.
Lara is so far the most high-profile cricketer to sign up with the multi-million dollar tournament bank-rolled by Zee Telefilms, the country's largest listed media house.
The International Cricket Council has refused recognition of the ICL while the Indian cricket board plans to hold its own Twenty20 league in April to counter it.
Lara, however, said he was looking forward to the tournament to be played in Panchkula, an industrial town on the outskirts of the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, from Nov 30.
"I am looking forward to playing in the league. I would love to play alongside the young players from India who may not have had the opportunity to play with me and other international players," he said.
Pakistan's Inzamam-ul Haq, Sri Lanka's Maravan Atapattu and New Zealand's Chris Cairns are some of the other star players who will be in action in the ICL comprising six teams.
The teams have been named Chennai Superstars, Hyderabad Heroes, Kolkata Tigers, Delhi Jets, Chandigarh Lions and Mumbai Champs.
Besides 30 international players, it will have local players drawn from across the country.
Lara said the Twenty20 format of the game was fun and had expectedly caught on with fans round the world.
"I don't generally watch cricket on television but was glued to the TV when India took on Pakistan in the World Twenty20 final.
"It's a very exciting game and is fun. It has given the authorities a chance to take the game to places not familiar with cricket."