BCCI tells ICC to keep off its players

MUMBAI: "Stay away from our players." That was the message that the Indian cricket board today shot off to the International Cricket Council (ICC), with which it is currently at loggerheads over the Members' Participation Agreement (MPA).

"It has been made clear to the ICC that they cannot deal directly with the Indian players. They have to come through the Board," BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India News Service.

Shah, who was speaking from Ahmedabad, claimed it was not the BCCI alone, but the cricket boards of Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh as well who were against the ICC's dealing directly with players.

"Not only me (BCCI), but Sri Lanka Cricket, Pakistan Cricket Board and Bangladesh Cricket Board, have said at the recent ICC meeting that on any issue related to the players, the ICC has to approach the boards first," Shah told PTI.

Shah's riposte was in reaction to comments made yesterday by ICC general manager - Cricket, David Richardson, who said, "While the ICC is required to deal directly with the Indian board on player issues, I've always enjoyed a good relationship with the Indian captain Rahul Dravid and several of their leading players and, should the BCCI permit, I'd welcome an opportunity to answer any queries they may have."

India, which hosts the ICC's Champions Trophy from Saturday, won the right to hold the 2011 World Cup jointly with neighbors Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The ICC has given the BCCI till next Monday (9 October) to notify it of any and all difficulties it has with the MPA. About the deadline, Shah had earlier said that the board would "meet that date".

However, today he took on a more belligerent tone when he said, "Are they going to hang us otherwise?" Shah told PTI the BCCI had already sent a reply to the ICC detailing its stand on the MPA.

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