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August 25, 2002 | 2350 IST

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India risks being isolated: Dalmiya

Board of Control for Cricket in India president Jagmohan Dalmiya said India stands the risk of being 'isolated' from the cricketing world with the country's top stars refusing to sign the agreement for the next month's Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka.

"With all other teams either signing or on the verge of doing so, India, I fear, may be somewhat isolated," Dalmiya said.

New Zealand and Pakistan and some of the Zimbabwe players have already signed the participation contract. Players of Australia, England, Sri Lanka and South Africa, who had initially opposed the contract, have also agreed to sign subject to certain conditions.

Dalmiya, however, said the board is still open to discussion with the players.

He said BCCI will resume formal discussion with the players after the Leeds Test is over.

"The players are now in the midst of a vital match. They need to stay focused. So we can restart negotiations after the match," he said.

He reiterated that the board would deal directly with the players and not with their spokesman, Ravi Shastri.

"We have an excellent relationship with the players. So I don't see any logic in involving an outsider," he said.

On Saturday, Shastri had hit out at Dalmiya saying: "If the board thinks the players will back down, it is mistaken. The entire Indian squad is united on the contract issue, and if Jagmohan Dalmiya doesn't have guts to speak to me, the spokesman of the players, then let him talk to them directly.

"Mr. Dalmiya should have been here [in England] to speak to the players and sort out things. All the players want is a dialouge. They are open for it."

The BCCI is in a fix after none of the Indian stars, now touring England, agreed to sign the controversial Players' Terms Form which bars them from endorsing products potentially in conflict with the interests of official sponsors, during and one month before and after ICC tournaments.

Though all the affiliate national boards had signed an agreement valid up to 2007 with the ICC on this line, following BCCI's insistence, the apex body recently offered to limit the agreement to the Champion's Trophy, to be held from September 12 to 29.

BCCI sources said the Indian players' reluctance to sign would also weaken the board's bargaining power with the ICC.

Dalmiya had earlier expressed 'sympathy' for the Indian players, who stood to lose the most financially following the agreement, and requested them to sign the contract for the Champions Trophy.

The ICC contract controversy - the complete coverage

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