Sharad Pawar, the BCCI president, has said all teams those who are taking part in the Champions League have every authority to include players of their choice for the US$5 million multi-club Twenty20 tournament, which means players playing in the ICL can also be included in the deal. But he placed the responsibility on letting such teams go through on the countries that they represent and warned that the BCCI would then have the liberty to take its verdict on the issue. Pawar told Cricinfo in a meeting that “This is not within the BCCI’s jurisdiction; they can do what they want. If any country takes any decision on this, they have every right to do so. They have the freedom to take a decision on the teams they choose to represent them. But then, we also have the freedom to take our decision on the issue later.”
Due to Pawars statement the spotlight is currently on the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), which is the only national board to have permitted players connected with the ICL to play in its domestic course. The ECB has allowed around 25 such cricketers to represent 15 of its 18 counties after it faced authorized action from the ICL, which was backed by the country’s strong trade laws that shield the rights of individuals. The Champions League, which is being sponsored by the BCCI, is projected to feature the top two Twenty20 domestic teams from India, England, Australia and South Africa. An ECB representative had said last week that it would stay behind for the tournament rules to be finalized before taking a stand on the issue. When asked in detail on the prospect of English county teams with ICL players qualifying for the Champions League, Pawar referred to the ICC’s stand on the ICL and said that all countries “have been informed about it”. The ICC has made it clear that it would go by the BCCI’s plan towards ICL. “The ICL is a domestic event that takes place in India so our rules prescribe that any decision as to whether an event be regarded as official or not must be made by the country that event is played in.” Dave Richardson, the ICC’s stand-in chief executive, said.
The BCCI has cut off all official links with players associated with the ICL, which was launched last year before the BCCI’s high-profile Indian Premier League (IPL). When questioned whether the BCCI would be more generous now, especially towards young Indian players in the ICL, Pawar said, “If anybody approaches us, we will consider their case.” Pawar also added that regardless of the enormously successful IPL, Test cricket remains the BCCI’s “first priority” and said that the Indian board would soon talk about the ICC’s offer to hold a Test championship. “The BCCI is definitely working for the future of Test cricket,” Pawar reported by adding “We are clear and confident that Test cricket has a future. We have digested one-day cricket, we have digested Twenty20, but the first preference is always Test cricket. My first preference is always Test cricket. Pawar assured that the BCCI will surely take a right decision regarding test tournaments also.