India cricket moguls move to crush competition

NEW DELHI, Aug 5, 2007 (AFP) – Indian cricket was rocked by an acrimonious slanging match on Sunday as the game’s powerful establishment moved to crush a breakaway multi-million dollar series.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is determined to ensure the failure of the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) which is bankrolled by the country’s largest listed media house, Zee Telefilms.

The BCCI has not only refused to let out stadia for the ICL’s inaugural Twenty20 competition later this year, but also threatened to bar rebel players from representing India in official tournaments.

“In a democratic country, anyone is free to play anywhere, but those players who join the ICL will not be considered for selection for India,” said BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah.

“They could even face life bans from official cricket.”

But ICL chairman Kapil Dev, India’s only World Cup winning captain and one of the great all-rounders of the modern game, said Shah’s comments were “malicious and uncalled for.”

“Our cricket will go ahead as planned,” Kapil told AFP. “No one can stop cricket from being played in India.

“It is shameful that the BCCI has adopted such an attitud