Rebel players heading to U.S. Twenty20 event

MIAMI - Players from the rebel Indian Cricket League and some big names from the sport’s past are to take part in an as yet unauthorised Twenty20 tournament in New York in October, the event organiser told Reuters on Thursday.

By (Reuters)

Published: Thu 23 Apr 2009, 10:40 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:48 AM

Jay Mir, president and CEO of American Sports And Entertainment Group, said the tournament, to be called the American Premier League, has signed up players from the major cricket nations with the majority coming from the ICL.

But the sport’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), which has not recognised the ICL, has warned its members against taking part in an event which has not, as yet, received endorsement from the USA Cricket Association.

“Most of those involved are ex-players and ICL players. Some would be affected (if the tournament was not recognised) but that is the choice of the players,” Mir said.

”Sixty to seventy percent of the tournament’s players are ICL players

Mir said former England spin bowler John Emburey, a coach in the ICL, had agreed to be coach of a ’Premium World’ team in the competition with ex-West Indies captain Richie Richardson coaching a Caribbean XI.

The ’Premium World’ team is made up of players from England, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka said Mir, who declined to name any of those contracted.

He added, however, that former New Zealand all-rounder Richard Hadlee has signed up as an ’executive board member’ of the event and former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has agreed to play.

ICC memo

Many countries ban ICL players from official cricket under pressure from the influential Indian board which runs the big-money Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 tournament.

The ICC issued a memo to members last week, a copy of which has been received by Reuters, which warns against involvement in the American venture.

“Members are... precluded from releasing their players to play in this event until such time as ICC confirms that the event has been approved,” read the memo.

A spokesman for the USA Cricket Association (USACA) said Mir had last contacted the body on the phone a month ago but had yet to make a formal application for authorisation.

Mir said he was confident of getting that authorisation but that the tournament, which was no longer recruiting players, would go ahead with or without the blessing of the sport’s official bodies.

“APL will go down all avenues to work in conjunction with USACA, but in case that does not happen, it will not affect APL from hosting this historic event,” he added

The tournament will feature six sides. Teams of Indians, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, American and West Indians, along with the World team, will play each other once with the top four going through to a knockout stage.

“I want to bring this great game of cricket to America,” said Mir, “We have had a phenomenal response and what we have achieved in one month no one has achieved in 20 years.

“The business model is very unique. The name is unique and is helping the success. I believe cricket and USA are at a historic crossroad and it is the right time for this great sport to flourish in America,” he said.

The tournament will be held at a baseball park on Staten Island, home to the minor league Staten Island Yankees and run from October 6-26.

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