The International Cricket Council has announced the rules and schedule for the much awaited citizenship auctions ahead of the T20 World Cup and 2012-13 season.
According to the rules of the auction, each player can sell his citizenship to the highest bidder for a period of one year, provided the bidder is an ICC member and they have a letter from their head-of-state approving the naturalization process. Sources close to Chris Gayle indicate that he is pushing for a bi-monthly auction for his loyalties.
According to sources, the auctions are the brainchild of an Indian Premier League team-owner who felt stymied by the limit on overseas players.
“We’ve been buying players, but now we really want to buy their loyalty,” said a source, under condition of anonymity.
The auctions will allow countries to make better use of their overseas quotas in the local T20 leagues, as well as sure up their performance in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
So far, the larger cricket boards such as the Board of Control for Cricket in India have managed to restrict the auction to ICC full members. However, recent developments suggest that the auction may be opened up to affiliate and associate members as well. The BCCI and other boards view this as a threat to their very existence.
“What is our fear? Two words: oil money. Two more words: Texas billionaire,” our source said.
It is rumored that a member of a certain royal family in the Middle East wants to recreate his fantasy book cricket matches using the actual players. Reports from our United States bureau suggest that lawyers in Texas have been making phone calls to their counterparts in the English Cricket Board. The ECB refused to comment.