PCA comes to the rescue of players over ICL

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London, Mar 10 (UNI) The Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) has offered to help a number of county players against the England Cricket Board's (ECB) stringent stand of not releasing players for unsanctioned Indian Cricket League (ICL).

''In the best interests of its members and the game in England and Wales, the PCA will work with the individual players, the ECB and the counties to try to resolve the many outstanding individual player issues created by the ECB's recent decisions and regulatory changes,'' said a PCA statement.

''The ECB have recently announced profound regulatory and policy changes with regard to players' participation in unauthorised cricket,'' it added.

''Several cricketers, including a number who are currently playing in ICL and have connections to English counties, have expressed serious reservations about the changes themselves, the rationale for them and the ultimate consequences for players and have asked for the PCA's help and advice.'' Players like Chris Read, Paul Nixon, Darren Maddy and Vikram Solanki have played in the ICL's inaugural tournament last year.

But the players have been strictly warned that if they renew their contract with the rebel league, one-year ban will be imposed.

The axe has fallen on overseas players also as Shane Bond, Jason Gillespie, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Mushtaq Ahmed have to get No Objection Certificates (NoC) from their respective home boards.

''The PCA is about to begin pre-season meetings with every county squad and will be able to comment further in early April after it has discussed all of these complex issues with its members in detail,'' the statement added.

Although, no England player will play in the first edition of IPL which starts next month but the ECB is keen to find it's representation in the next edition which could impact the domestic season.

''Around 20 players due to participate in county cricket this coming season are directly affected, and the longer-term consequences for all players are not yet fully understood.

''The PCA are optimistic that honest and open dialogue with all stakeholders will ensure the best outcome for the sport.'' UNI XC RAR AB BST1933

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