Solanki retains England hope
Hopes joining the ICL is not the end of international career
By Steve Landells. Last Updated: 16/11/07 10:55am
Solanki: 'rebel' contract
Worcestershire skipper Vikram Solanki revealed to skysports.com he still "harbours ambitions" to play for England despite signing up for the rebel Indian Cricket League later this month.
The ECB have warned players their England future could be jeopardised by appearing in the league which has been outlawed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), who plan to established their own Twenty20 competition - the Indian Premier League - in the spring.
Solanki and three other England internationals - Leicestershire's Paul Nixon, Chris Read of Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire's Darren Maddy - have signed up for the Twenty20 League which begins on November 30 and will also feature former West Indies skipper Brian Lara and ex-Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.
But Solanki, a stylish right-handed batsman, believes the ECB had given him no clear indication why he should not embark on playing in the ICL.
"I was approached a little while ago and after giving it considerable thought and speaking to a lot of people whose opinion I respect, I though why not?, Solanki told skysports.com.
"I am effectively out of contract and don't have any official commitments. It was a great opportunity for me to go out and play some cricket and I see no reason why I shouldn't go out and do it.
"By joining the ICL does not in anyway compromise my relationship with my club Worcestershire.
"The pure simple fact of the matter is that I'm a cricketer, there is an opportunity to go and play cricket and nobody has presented me with a strong enough to argument to say I shouldn't do it.
"If, for example, I was turning my back on England or if I was not attending an England training camp because I was doing this then I would see that as a valid enough excuse as to why I shouldn't play.
"But I have not been asked to do anything with England. I'm not a part of the performance squad, so I genuinely don't see where the problem is."
Solanki, who has endured a stop-start England career, made his one-day international debut in 2000 against South Africa and made his last one-day appearance against Sri Lanka in Leeds in July last year. He has scored two one-day centuries at an average of 26.54.
His last appearance in England colours came against India in September's Twenty20 World Cup but he insists there is no reason why he could not add to his 51 one-day international caps in the future.
"I'm no different to any county cricketer," he said while attending SJ Dent and Co sports memorabilia shop in Covent Garden.
"I've been fortunate enough to play for England, I've enjoyed my time with England I still harbour ambitions, absolutely."
The rebel league has been organised by former Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev and is a direct rival to the officially sanctioned Indian Premier League which takes place in India next April.
But Solanki, who skippered Worcestershire to victory in last season's NatWest Pro40 League, was relishing the prospect of playing in the three-week competition alongside batting legend Brian Lara for the Mumbai Champs.
"India is a wonderful place to play cricket and I'm looking forward to the fact it is obviously a very high profile sport in India with some very famous names involved in the competition," added Solanki.
"I'm looking forward to getting out there and playing exciting Twenty20 cricket, which seems to be all the rage at the moment, in good conditions with decent crowds."