County side Kent to fight ECB ban against Kemp

March 23rd, 2008 - 10:54 pm ICT by admin  

London, March 23 (IANS) English county side Kent has extended full support to their overseas South African all-rounder Justin Kemp after his application to play county cricket this summer was declined by the England Wales Cricket Board (ECB) following his association with the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL). Kemp was one of the five players, including former teammates Andrew Hall, Johannes van der Wath (both Northamptonshire), West Indian Wavell Hinds (Derbyshire) and Kiwi Hamish Marshall (Gloucestershire), whose registrations were turned down by the ECB because of their association with the rebel Indian Cricket League.

However, Kent chief executive Paul Millman had opposed the ECB decision and has decided to fight Kemp’s case with a hope that the all-rounder will be available for the side’s opening game against Nottinghamshire April 16.

“The first we knew was when the ECB issued a press release. Kemp’s registration has been declined over a complicated rulebook issue, although it is because he has been playing in the ICL,” Millman told Kent’s offcial website Sunday.

“We have taken a look at the situation and we believe there are exceptional circumstances. The ECB have given us the opportunity to make written representations and we will be doing that as soon as we can because we want him to be with us before the start of the season,” he added.

Kent signed the South African at the beginning of February, a month before the ECB announced amendments to its regulations which stipulated cricketers, playing in unauthorised events in the 12 months leading up to April 1, would be banned from featuring in county cricket.

However, Millman said that his team would not look for any alternative options because Kemp is what they want.

“I think that is not on the agenda at the moment as we have been given an opportunity to make representations and I think we will have to take it a step at a time.

“We are still of the view that Justin committed to play for us at the end of the 2006 season as he made a decision to want to play for Kent. His contract was very much made at the time when the rules about the Indian Premier League and the ICL did not exist and those rules were very clear at the time.”

Millman admitted it has been an unsettling time for everyone in cricket and is perhaps not the ideal start to a county season, especially as the club are backing Kemp and are staying loyal to his contract.

“I have spoke to Justin (Kemp) a lot over the last few weeks, but one thing I can tell you is that he remains totally committed to playing for us this season,” he said.

Kent’s director of cricket and fellow South African Graham Ford is also hopeful that Kemp will be part of his squad.

“Justin has told me he would have walked away from the Indian cricket commitment with the ICL if it had been made known that there was a danger to his contract with Kent.

“He has always had this desire to come back and play for us; he is committed to playing county cricket. So we are hoping and trusting things go through smoothly,” said Ford.

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