Banning ICL cricketers an act of treason : Kapil

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Kolkata, Mar 27 (UNI) Indian Cricket League (ICL) Executive Board Chief Kapil Dev today lambasted the BCCI, terming them as 'traitors' for banning those who had joined the 'rebel league'.

Dev in an emotional outburst at the re-launch of the 'Kolkata Tigers' team after being bought by Mithun Chakraborty here, said, ''These boys want to play for their country. They are some of the finest cricketers of the country. If anyone says they can't play for the country, for me they are traitors.'' Dev added, ''If Sourav (Ganguly) joined ICL, would they ban him.

I ask the people of Bengal, would they accept it. If not how they can see this injustice.'' ''I am becoming emotional, as sportsmen are emotional people.

But I have thought time and again if I was doing anything wrong. And the answer I got is no. We have nothing against BCCI or Indian Premier League (IPL). We want to promote the game and see everyone reaps its benefits,'' he said.

''Are these boys not Indians? If they are not accepted as Indian players, the ones who are trying to stop them should be ashamed of themselves. I am confident that they will serve their country one day,'' he added.

Asked if the ban and other restrictions acted as a deterrent for young cricketers from joining the ICL, he said, '' They are trying to put up various hurdles. But we will not give up without a fight, provided they don't turn it into a boxing game. '' On what will happen if some of the players don't play well, he said, ''There will be no compromises as far as cricketing standards are concerned. If they don't play well they don't deserve to be in the team. But they are all fine cricketers and dying to play for the country.'' Asked how he saw ICL's relation with BCCI, he said, ''BCCI is the head of the family. If we have done something wrong the father can scold us, but cannot throw us out.'' UNI BA SJC PDT KN2158

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