South Africa clears way for return of ICL players

CAPE TOWN: Cricket South Africa on Friday cleared the way for players contracted to the breakaway Indian Cricket League to return to official cricket.

The board of CSA also announced a resumption of bilateral ties with Zimbabwe cricket.

Several leading South African players, including Justin Kemp, Nicky Boje, Dale Benkenstein, Andrew Hall and Johan van der Wath, were effectively banned from South African cricket after signing for the ICL in 2007.

Cricket SA decided Friday, however, that players and officials who terminate their contracts with the ICL will be allowed back into local structures and to be eligible for official International Cricket Council events.

In line with an ICC recommendation, the players will have to serve a cooling-off period before they can play official cricket again.

Cricket SA decided the cooling off period should be six months from the players' most recent appearance in the ICL. As there have been no ICL fixtures since November 2008 the players will be able to return in time for the next South African season starting in September.

Returning players will be eligible for the next officially sanctioned Indian Premier League and the Champions League provided they end their ICL contracts by May 31.

The decision to resume ties with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union was taken because of the establishment of a government of national unity in Zimbabwe and a request by the ICC to assist the country's cricket.

Relations were broken off in June 2008 because of the general deteriorating situation in the country.

A coordinating committee will be set up to assist Zimbabwe over the next three to five years in order to help the country achieve its goal of returning to Test cricket.