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May 10, 2009 at 03:34pm IST

Cash may keep Bangladesh rebels in ICL

Dhaka: Bangladesh's rebel cricketers want to accept an amnesty offered by the sport's authorities but lucrative deals with the Indian Cricket League (ICL) may force them to think twice, an ex-captain said on Sunday.

Habibul Bashar, 36, said they welcomed the Bangladesh Cricket Board's offer on Saturday to pardon the cricketers provided they scrap their contracts with the ICL, which is not recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC), by June 15.

"They opened a window of opportunity for us. We can now see some light at the end of the tunnel," said Bashar, who was the country's most successful cricketer before he led 13 other cricketers to the ICL last September.

Cash may keep Bangladesh rebels in ICL

ICL has given a three-year contract of $200,000 for each player.

"We want to take the opportunity and play for the national team. If we leave the ICL, we have to sacrifice a lot of things. If we come back, what we'll get in return?" he said.

"The ICL is highly lucrative compared to domestic cricket in Bangladesh."

As part of the amnesty offer, the board said the rebel cricketers who were slapped with a 10-year ban last September must play local leagues first and then be considered for the national team after December 31 this year.

All 14 players featured in the Dhaka Warriors team in the last season of the ICL, which is bank-rolled by India's largest media company Zee Telefilms.

The team included 11 current or former internationals.

Media reports said the players had signed up for 200,000 dollars each for a three-year period.

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