The Indian board has agreed to meet officials of the unsanctioned ICL, the first time the two sides will have met since the league was set up in April 2007. This was one of the two major decisions taken on the first day of the ICC board meeting in Dubai, the other being the selection of four Test series where the umpire review trials will continue
ICL officials have welcomed the proposed meeting with Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, and said they hoped for an "early resolution" to their quest for official recognition. However, a senior BCCI official said that nothing much should be read into the ICC board's decision, "because it does not in any way indicate a result".
The ICL has sought official sanction under Rule 32 of the ICC operations manual which pertains to authorised unofficial cricket. But siginificantly, Manohar and Lalit Modi, a BCCI vice-president, are on a five-member ICC sub-committee that has worked on "new regulations governing official and unofficial cricket" that were discussed at the board meeting today. ICL officials, however, indicated that they expected Manohar to meet Subhash Chandra, the chairman of Essel group that owns ICL, "very soon". "We will be in dialogue with BCCI and we hope the outcome suits all," Chandra said. "The ICL has always worked towards promoting the game and players," Himanshu Mody, the ICL's business head, told Cricinfo. "We hope the outcome of discussions between the BCCI and ICL will benefit players at large. We look forward to an early resolution."
The BCCI, apparently, views the situation differently. "The only resolution that can be looked at is one where the ICL agrees to operate within the BCCI's parameters," the official said. "Till then, the announcement of the meeting is just a statement of fact, and nothing more. It's not as significant as it is being made out to be." Manohar will provide a written report of his discussions with the ICL to the ICC board.
Since its inception, the ICL has been vehemently opposed by the Indian board, which has banned players associated with the league from all forms of official cricket and barred them from using any of its facilities. The ICL has, meanwhile, been pressing the ICC unsuccessfully for official recognition of their unsanctioned venture for several months. Subsequently they requested the ICC for a meeting, and Chandra met David Morgan, the ICC president, in London last week to present the Twenty20 league's case for recognition. The ICL is hoping for a status similar to the one that has been granted to the Stanford venture in the West Indies, but the crucial difference is that the Caribbean tournament has been endorsed by its home board, the WICB.