Those banning ICL cricketers are traitors: Kapil

March 27th, 2008 - 11:33 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, March 27 (IANS) Kapil Dev, former captain and Indian Cricket League (ICL) executive board chief, Thursday termed functionaries of the Indian cricket board as “traitors” for banning the players who have joined the “rebel league”. “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,” said the World Cup winning Indian team’s skipper in an emotional outburst at the re-launch of the Kolkata Tigers team that was bought by actor Mithun Chakraborty.

“If Sourav (Ganguly) had joined ICL, would he have been banned from playing for the country? I ask the people of Bengal, would they accept it? If not, how can they see this injustice done to the other sons of the soil?” he asked.

“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 was a resounding ‘no’.”

“We have nothing against the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) or the Indian Premier League (IPL). We want to promote the game and see everyone reap its benefits,” the Haryana Hurricane added.

“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 imposed by the BCCI worked as a deterrent for young cricketers from joining the unauthorised league, 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.”

Queried 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 are dying to play for the country.”

Asked how he saw ICL’s relation with the cricket board, he said, “BCCI is the father of the family. If we have done something wrong, the father can scold us, but cannot throw us out of the house. The father loves all his children.”

On whether there could be a match between the champions of ICL and IPL, he said, “Let the IPL begin first and have its champions. Nothing is impossible.”

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