India boss scoffs at rebel Twenty20 league

NEW DELHI, Aug 2, 2007 (AFP) – India’s cricket chief Sharad Pawar ridiculed Thursday an unofficial competition carrying a prize of one million dollars, saying it would mainly feature players coming out of retirement. Pawar also warned that promising younger players would be ineligible for the Indian team if they played in the tournament, which is being bankrolled by Zee Telefilms, India’s largest listed media company.

“I can’t see any threat from the ICL,” Pawar said, referring to the new competition, the Indian Cricket League, by its initials.

Pawar, a political heavyweight and the federal agriculture minister, was making his first public comments on the issue as he inaugurated a cricket facility in the western state of Gujarat.

“Not many people are interested in watching retired players in action. Everyone wants to see official cricket, not the oldies,” he said.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has refused to recognise the league, which has consequently struggled to lure players despite reports of big money offers.

Most of the players linked to the competition are retired, semi-retired or unable to hold their place in the national side. The league would feature six team