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Amnesty Puts Ball At Feet Of Bond And Tuffey

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Amnesty Puts Ball At Feet Of Bond And Tuffey

Wellington, June 4 NZPA - New Zealand Cricket (NZC) will welcome Indian Cricket League (ICL) players back with open arms, so long as they can prove they have severed all ties with the unsanctioned competition.

While India have ordered a stand-down period for returning ICL players before they can be considered for international selection, the NZC said New Zealand players had to meet just the one condition.

The board decision means former ICL players could be considered for inclusion in the Black Caps' tour to Sri Lanka in August-September, and a New Zealand A tour to India in August.

New Zealanders aligned to the ICL are Shane Bond, Daryl Tuffey, Hamish Marshall, Lou Vincent, Andre Adams, Chris Cairns, Craig McMillan, Chris Harris and Adam Parore.

NZC chief executive Justin Vaughan said the board's decision was "about policy rather than any player's particular circumstance".

Vaughan acknowledged that Bond and Tuffey were the most likely candidates for future selection if they broke with the ICL.

"We understand both of these players wish to return to international cricket -- which is great news for cricket in New Zealand," he said.

"We would love to able to include them in selection discussions. We haven't been able to do that for 18 months, we would love to be able to do it now."

The ball was at the players' feet now.

"It's their decision (quitting the ICL) to make -- we are not trying to entice them with guaranteed selection -- that's not on the table.

"We are simply saying they will be considered for selection with other players.

"But before that we will need confirmation they have exited the ICL.

"Like other boards around the world we have had to clarify our position on how to deal with former ICL players who wish to return to international cricket," Vaughan said.

Vaughan said the board was adamant it did not condone unofficial cricket.

It noted ICC regulations could mean a tougher stance on players who participated in non-sanctioned events.

"There's no question that New Zealand suffered heavily from the ICL -- our national side lost a significant number of top players," Vaughan said.

"New Zealand wants to have a top-ranked national team and this is very hard when you are unable to select from all your best players.

"Many of the ICL players have had limited cricket over the past 12 months and there has been no ICL cricket played since 2008.

"The earliest time former ICL players would be eligible for selection is in August, which would amount to almost 12 months since the last ICL event.

"Taking all these factors into account the board felt there was little justification for a further stand-down period."

Vaughan was hopeful the problems caused by the ICL would not return again to damage cricket around the world.

The ICL, bankrolled by one of India's largest media firms, launched the league following India's triumph in the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in 2007.

Apart from several fringe Indian players, it signed overseas players, particularly from Pakistan, New Zealand and Bangladesh.

However, India's board of control for cricket (BCCI), concerned the league would undermine its position, refused to recognise it and persuaded other national boards to ban players who signed up.

The International Cricket Council had in April rejected an application from the ICL seeking approval for their Twenty20 competition.

The ICL yesterday denied it was about to fold, saying it planned a comeback event in October.

"The ICL is not shutting down, it will continue. Our plans for a tournament later this year are on track," said Roland Landers, spokesman of the Essel Group that owns Zee Television, which promotes the ICL.

"We still have 40-50 players on our roster and we'll get more players as and when required."

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