Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: It isn’t prudent to generalise why nearly 10 per cent of the cricketers who played last season’s Ranji Trophy joined the Indian Cricket League (ICL), but, on Wednesday here at the training camp, a sense of disillusionment was revealed.

It was subtle in some cases: Deep Dasgupta, former Bengal captain, said he had no issues with the working of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB); he, however, said the atmosphere at Mayajaal was “cricket-friendly” because cricketers administered the camp.

Opportunity to grow

Asked why he had joined the ICL, Dasgupta said, “I’ve played for my State, I’ve played for my country, what now? It’s an opportunity to grow. It’s something new, something exciting, and I’m better off being part of it than not being part of it.”

J.P. Yadav, formerly the cornerstone of the Railways team with bat and ball, said, “I felt this was a better platform. I don’t think I got the chances at the international level my performance in domestic cricket deserved.”

Promising Bengal batsman Abhishek Jhunjhunwala has an interesting story. Sourav Ganguly called from England to convince him to stay in the system.

“There was a lot of pressure to rethink,” admitted the 24-year-old Jhunjhunwala. “There were quite a few things on my mind — the things going on in the CAB, the thought of playing with greats like (Shane) Warne and (Glenn) McGrath — if they join.”

What helped make up his mind? “I thought it’s a good offer for me,” said Jhunjhunwala, who was the second highest-scorer for Bengal behind Manoj Tiwary last season. “At the end of the day, you want security and exposure, and I’m getting that at ICL.”

ICL coach Sandeep Patil said he was happy with the opportunities the BCCI had given him. But, he said the board’s failure to respond to a correspondence had led to him taking the ICL offer.

“I offered my services to the BCCI,” said Patil. “I wrote a letter to (Board president Sharad) Pawar a year and a half back regarding India “A’, and didn’t receive a reply. That’s too long a period to sit and wait — you can’t coach, sitting at home.”

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