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Counties ready to defy Modi ICL threat

The inaugural Champions League Twenty20 tournament has run into troubled water with English counties in no mood to oblige BCCI vice president Lalit Modi's diktat and leave out players who have been part of the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL).

In fact, Modi's warning that counties with ICL players face ouster from the 2.5 million pound has enraged the clubs here who have struck a belligerent pose, ready to miss out on the Twenty20 extravaganza starting late September.

A spokesman of Lancashire, which has ICL player Lou Vincent in the ranks, told 'The Times' that in absence of any clear instructions from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the position was quite unclear.

"If it is up to Cricket Australia to come up with rules and regs, then maybe they would like to get a wiggle on because this thing is about to start. Our priority is winning the Twenty20 Cup, which means picking our strongest team, including ICL players," he said.

"If we get to the final, it will be up to the tournament organisers whether we play in the Champions League. If they do not want to see Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson out there, that is up to them," he said rather sternly.

Of the counties, only Essex, Middlesex and Somerset don't have any ICL players in their ranks and Modi has already thundered that teams with 'rebel' cricketers would be ousted from the tournament and no exceptions would be made for anyone.

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