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ICC to seek assurances from IPL

One of the most crucial meetings of the International Cricket Council begins in Dubai on Monday with the Indian Premier League dominating the agenda.

Giles Clarke, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, will be there to clear up rumours that the Champions Twenty20 League - the carrot used by the IPL to secure co-operation from the ECB and 18 first-class counties - is a mirage.

The Champions League is being used to persuade the English authorities to steer their players away from the rebel Indian Cricket League, but the tournament may not get off the ground.

Next week is a test for the ICC, giving them a chance to harness the power of the IPL for the good of cricket rather than for the businessmen who run cricket in India.

England are not the only country to have concerns. In Australia, talk is that the authorities may demand compensation for the international retirement of Adam Gilchrist, one of the first stars to announce he was joining the IPL.

In Sri Lanka, the national board have failed to reach agreement with Kumar Sangakkara and Muttiah Muralitharan, the world's top-ranked Test batsman and bowler, over their new contracts. Sri Lanka Cricket wants them to guarantee their availability for their domestic teams at any time of year, but the players are looking at the wages on offer in India and suggesting that the IPL should come first.

If Australia lets its players participate there will be 64 overseas personnel taking part in the first IPL season, earning close to $24 million, but the national boards, who discovered and developed these players, want to know what they are going to get out of it.

The issue will be complicated if IS Bindra, an Indian businessman who sits on the IPL's governing committee, is appointed to succeed Malcolm Speed as the ICC chief executive. Bindra is the favourite to win the post ahead of two South African candidates.

The misappropriation of funds by Zimbabwe Cricket is also on the agenda, and the outcome could have a bearing on their tour to England next year.

The KPMG report into financial irregularities within ZC will be delivered and any action taken against them could help the ECB get out of Zimbabwe's two scheduled visits to England in 2009.

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