Kiwis being targeted for latest US league
New Zealand players are being targeted for cricket's latest international circus, the American Premier League.
Boss of the New Zealand Cricket Players Association, Heath Mills, told The Dominion Post last night that Kiwi names had been penned on an international hit list for the unauthorised Twenty20 tournament.
The American Sports And Entertainment Group plans to hold the tournament in New York in October but Mills has sent letters to all New Zealand players urging them not to sign under the contract template, which he has sighted.
Mills said no current Black Caps had been targeted to his knowledge.
"I am aware that they are targeting some New Zealand players but they're guys who are playing in the ICL or other competitions around the world. I'm not aware of them identifying any current New Zealand players or any players playing in our domestic competitions."
News broke yesterday of the proposed American league, with event organiser Jay Mir spilling the beans that New Zealand great Sir Richard Hadlee had signed up as an executive board member.
The league is not yet supported by the USA Cricket Association or the International Cricket Council, meaning players could not sign and also play for their countries.
"I'm not aware that it's connected to the ICL, it's a totally different group organising it as I understand it," Mills said.
"One area of concern for the administrators might be if the ICL did continue and this American league did get up and running ... then you would effectively start to have a meaningful series of events throughout the year as an alternative to the current programme of international cricket."
Mills wouldn't reveal any New Zealand names but the American league is claiming that it has already signed up a number of ICL players, including Pakistani legend Inzamam-ul-Haq.New Zealanders involved in the ICL include Shane Bond, Hamish Marshall, Daryl Tuffey and Chris Harris.
New Zealand players would play for a "Premium World" team against a Caribbean XI.
"They're providing alternative employment options for the players which from a players perspective isn't a bad thing," Mills said.
"But I have seen the contract template and I think we do have some concerns with it and we wouldn't be advising the players to sign it in its current form."
The proposed American league, to be played on a baseball park on Staten Island, adds to a messy international picture featuring the IPL, ICL as well as an expanded ICC calendar trying to cram in more Twenty20 fixtures.
Mills had a positive take on the direction of the game.
"These things are going to keep happening as cricket becomes more of a global game. It's clearly got a lot of commercial opportunities for people and people are going to look to create their own competitions in places around the world where cricket currently isn't played.
"Getting cricket played internationally and at a high level in America wouldn't be a bad thing for the game in terms of its global development."