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August 29, 2002 | 1700 IST

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India seek extension
of Friday deadline

The Board of Control for Cricket in India will request the International Cricket Council to extend the Friday deadline for announcing its team for next month's Champions Trophy.

"We will request in our talks with the ICC that the deadline be extended by a day. Who knows, may be ICC will change its mind," BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said.

Shah, who is in Dubai to attend the ICC meeting, reiterated the board's stand that ICC alone can take a decision on the players' offer to play in the tournament without signing the Players' Terms form.

"It is up to the ICC to change the terms. BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya is talking to the players and he will put forward whatever suggestions that are before him," Shah said.

The ICC's Cricket Committee - Management started its two-day meeting on Thursday but a decision on the players' offer can be taken only by the Executive Board, which meets on Saturday. And that would mean violation of the Friday deadline. As such, Shah said the board would ask for the extension of the deadline by a day.

Shah stressed that India will participate in the mini World Cup whether the top players agree to play in it or not.

"Most of the 25 players selected have signed the contract. We look at it as Indian representation," he said, referring to the list of probables the BCCI finalised as a contingency measure.

However, he did not rule out a possible compromise between the players and ICC even now.

"It could be that we may sign an agreement just for the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka and breathe a little easily till the World Cup. In a couple of days, our position will be clear."

Shah said the BCCI is talking directly to the players and not to their spokesman, Ravi Shastri.

"We cannot talk to anyone who is not an official. The board is a responsible body and we are experienced in dealing with such situations."

The ICC meeting is being attended by all the member boards.

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya also sought to make it a players versus ICC issue.

"The question now is whether the players want to go or not. If they want to go they go, otherwise they don't," Dalmiya said.

"It is completely ICC's prerogative whether they will defer the tournament or change the players' terms to accommodate the Indian proposal. We have no say in the matter. Or the ICC may even choose to stick to its guns," he said.

"Our role would be limited to saying 'yes' if asked whether we are in favour of sending a team," Dalmiya, who will attend the Executive Board meeting, said.

Meanwhile, South African Cricketers' Association Chief Executive Tony Irish said in Johannesburg his players will not sign the contract without a meeting with United Cricket Board CEO Gerald Majola and president Percy Sonn, both of whom are in Dubai to attend the ICC meeting.

Irish said the meeting is expected only after the two officials return from Dubai.

"The players have not yet signed the agreements. But we are hopeful that on the return of Majola and Sonn from Dubai, the players will sign as soon as we have an agreement," Irish said, thus ruling out the announcement of the team by Friday.

Sri Lanka's board too may not be able to meet the deadline. A board official said in Colombo the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka it is not in a position to share its revenue from guarantee money with the players and accused the cricketers of trying to "capitalise on a situation".

"I don't think they are seriously affected by the conditions laid down by the ICC," he said.

Chief Executive Officer Anura Tennekoon has already left the country with a two-point compromise suggested by the players, which will be presented at the ICC Executive Board meeting.

The ICC contract controversy - the complete coverage

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