Defunct ICL sees hope after Modi’s tweets

Defunct ICL sees hope after Modi’s tweets

New Delhi: Organizers of the defunct Indian Cricket League have seized on admissions by the former head of the rival Indian Premier League that there was an official plot to undermine the ICL, saying it helps their ongoing legal fight and raised hopes of reviving the Twenty20 competition.

The ICL in 2007 filed a case against the Board of Control for Cricket in India, alleging it had intimidated players and state affiliates to stay away from the ICL. The ‘rebel league´ was forced to close in 2009 while the BCCI-sanctioned IPL continued to flourish. Now Lalit Modi, the former head of the IPL, had appeared to back those claims, saying on Twitter that the BCCI had run a deliberate campaign to undermine the ICL, lobbying players, local associations and international boards to snub the competition.

Himanshu Mody, the head of sports for media company Zee Group which ran the ICL, was quoted in the Times of India on Wednesday welcoming Modi’s candid comments. “The matter is still in the court and we are waiting for Lalit Modi to reveal more on how BCCI plotted to kill our league," Mody said. “If we are able to get more evidence, it will certainly make our case stronger against the BCCI." Mody said it could even encourage Zee Group to revive the ICL, which had preceded the IPL in 2007 but folded in 2009. “If everything falls in place, we may start our league again," added Mody.

Modi, a former vice-president of the BCCI, was axed as commissioner of the IPL last year over financial irregularities and is presently based in London. He began a series of tweets earlier this week after speculation that he could be playing a role in the Sri Lankan Twenty20 League, from which Indian players have been barred by the BCCI. Modi dismissed the Sri Lanka speculation, but took the chance to make potentially damaging revelations about the BCCI’s tactics in its fight against the ICL. “Yes, we as BCCI called all and sundry to oppose ICL.

Cricket associations were told not to give grounds or fear losing matches," Modi said during a series of tweets. “Yes, I was part of the BCCI when we scuttled ICL. That was the mandate of the organization. It was not my personal agenda," he said, adding that even commentators and sports equipment suppliers had been warned by the BCCI. The ICL, with former India captain Kapil Dev as its head of executive board, had signed many domestic, former and foreign players to either play or coach in the league.

World Cup-winning players Madan Lal and Balwinder Singh Sandhu were among the coaches signed, while players like Ambati Rayudu and Abu Nachem who turn out in the IPL now, had also been part of the ICL. However, the ICL struggled financially and is reported to still owe money to several players.