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Dragons won't risk playing Gillespie

The Glamorgan Dragons are determined to make the most of their dramatic Twenty20 lifeline - but will have to do so without any overseas stars in their ranks.

The Dragons, thrust back into the competition in controversial circumstances, will now head north to the Riverside for their quarter-final clash with Durham Dynamos on Monday (5.30) having taken the decision not to play Aussie pace bowler Jason Gillespie.

Gillespie played in the rebel Indian Cricket League before arriving in South Wales, which means any participation in the Twenty20 Cup could threaten Glamorgan's hopes of taking part in the lucrative 2.5m Champions League - the prize on offer for the two finalists in this year's competition.

South African star Herschelle Gibbs was the county's original overseas player for the tournament, but once the Dragons were eliminated at the pool stages, Glamorgan re-registered Gillespie for the championship outing against Essex.

If Gillespie did play against the Dynamos, because of his ICL links, it could pose problems if Glamorgan were to progress all the way to the final.

The reward for the two finalists this year is a place in a high-profile Champions League alongside teams from Australia, India and South Africa, which takes place in either Dubai or India this autumn.

However, Indian Premier League bosses have warned that their sides will not play counties boasting players who have been involved in the ICL.

Nothing has yet been set in stone, but Glamorgan - after being given this welcome reprieve - are not prepared to gamble.

"Jason does not play, it is as simple as that," said Glamorgan cricket manager Matthew Maynard.

"Because of his ICL connections, the regulations are there where if we did play and qualify for the final and ultimately the Champions League we would be thrown out of the competition. So it is pretty much a no-brainer."

In what has been a roller-coaster week of off-field twists and turns, the Dragons have been handed the chance of landing the 2.5million jackpot following Monday's shock decision by an ECB appeal panel in Taunton.

It had looked like Glamorgan had little chance of being parachuted into the quarter-finals following the controversy that surrounded Yorkshire fielding an ineligible player, Pakistan-born Azeem Rafiq, during a zonal match against Nottinghamshire Outlaws.

Notts had originally been pencilled in to take Yorkshire's spot in the last eight, but following an appeal by the Tykes, the place was awarded to Glamorgan as the next best third-placed team after Yorkshire were docked the two points which had initially been credited to the Outlaws.

As for Glamorgan, their job is now to put the whole furore behind them and concentrate on booking a semi-final place against Middlesex at Hampshire's Rose Bowl on July 26.

"We are going to miss Herschelle, but we have other players in the side who can win us matches," insisted Maynard.

"Once we were allowed to attend the appeal we felt we had a pretty compelling argument for our inclusion in the quarter-final.

"It means we can go up there and have a real go at them and try and get to finals day. It was something that was not there earlier this week and we are going to try and make the most of it.

"Fate is a funny thing. People say we have nothing to lose, but I don't think the chairman and the chief executive will think that with the money at stake and the effort they have made in putting us back in the competition."

source - thisissouthwales.co.uk
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