ICL: The future of Indian cricket is here

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ICL: The future of Indian cricket is here

Post by Admin on Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:36 am

The Mumbai Champs team bus started on its first promotional drive to roll out the Indian Cricket League (ICL) bandwagon. One thing stood out. The slogan read: "ICL, the future of Indian cricket".

"I got the ICL offer from Kiran (More), who wanted me to begin first as a talent scout," says Rajesh Chauhan, former India off-spinner. He is now the assistant coach to Sandeep Patil with the Champs. The 40-year-old Chauhan still looks in great shape and is eager to share the knowledge he accrued playing the game at the highest level.

"Nine years after I left cricket this is the first time someone approached me" is Chauhan's prime reason for having joined ICL. He is anything but happy with the way he has been treated by the board. Chauhan, who now lives in Bhilai, a small town in Madhya Pradesh, has an academy there.

Robin Morris, a key all-rounder for the Champs, played his last first-class game three years ago. "I took eight wickets in the match, but while fielding I suffered an injury to my right shoulder. Even though I was in pain I bowled 46 overs," reminisces Morris as he takes his lunch in the makeshift dressing room in a corner of the Western Railway ground.

Just few months into the ICL fold, and Morris is already at home. "If ICL had been around three years ago, I would've joined without any hesitation. ICL is a very well-organised system" says Morris, who is very impressed with the training sessions held by the ICL. "Here everybody gets fair opportunity," said Morris.

Kiran Powar, a talented left-handed batsman is happy to be on board. "The amount of information we get from the backroom staff is such an eye-opener that now we think if we had had access to the same five years ago, we could've even played for the country."

Morris points out another vital difference. "There are international stars [at the practice] like [Nathan] Astle and [Johan] van der Wath who point out where we are good and where we might be going wrong." The international stars, even if they are retired, are a big attraction to the domestic players in the ICL. Dheeraj Jadhav, part of the India Test squad two years ago, believes the level of competition he'll face from the "well-balanced sides" in the ICL will stand him in good stead. "The competitive cricket I'll get to play at the ICL will help me boost my performance."

"As a professional cricketer I did take into account the money factor and it definitely counted a lot in my deciding in favour of the ICL," said Jadhav.

Says Jadhav: "If I perfom well, the ICL people have assured me of their full backing." Jadhav doesn't want to discuss the fine print, but is confident that ICL will deliver. Morris and Powar say that it's the exposure and the feeling of walking out with the likes of Brian Lara and Inzmam-ul-Haq is irresistible. "Previously no-one would know that I was playing out there. With ICL I know that people will recognise me," says Morris with a smile.

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