How Indian Cricket League (ICL) started

Subhash Chandra owner of Zee Telefilms bid for the telecast rights to the 2003 Cricket World Cup; it was the highest bid but was unsuccessful to get the rights. Again in 2004, Subhash Chandra again bid for telecast rights and ended up in an inconclusive court battle. He made another bid for the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy rights and once again lost. He responded by creating the ICL. “They denied us the cricket content,” says Himanshu Mody, business head of ICL and Zee’s sports, “so, we had to create our own content” . Zee Telefilms announced that it would partner infrastructure major IL&FS to create a new, ambitious cricket organisation, the Indian Cricket League (ICL) with prize money of one million US dollars in the initial edition for the winning team. The ICL was set up with a billion dollar Indian Rupee corpus, and was to initially comprise six teams playing Twenty20 cricket, with plans to expand to sixteen teams within three years and to eventually move to 50-over matches. These plans, if realised, will make ICL the richest professional league in India. On 24 July 2007, some famous international names were announced to have signed to play in the ICL, including Brian Lara. Due to the unofficial nature of the league, most of the national cricket boards warned their players against joining it and as a result most of the international players who signed for the first edition were retired internationals, such as Brian Lara, Chris Cairns and Craig McMillan, or former players with little hope of breaking back into their national team, such as Chris Read and Daryl Tuffey. A notable exception was Imran Farhat, who chose to opt out of his Pakistan Central contract to sign with the League . Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad said he was not able to understand why the PCB would not allow its players to participate in the league and why it was threatening players with a lifetime ban[citation needed]. The PCB subsequently banned players involved in the ICL from playing domestic cricket, a move that prompted some players, notably Farhat and Taufeeq Umar, to threaten court action. The opposition to the league from most national cricket boards has continued into the league’s second edition, with several players who were signed to play domestic cricket for teams in the English County Championship, including Shane Bond, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Mushtaq Ahmed and Jason Gillespie being unable to fulfill their County Championship contracts because of their home counties cricket boards refusals to grant them the necessary paperwork to play in England .

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