NEW DELHI, Aug 24: The battle between the Indian cricket board and a rival league reached the courts on Friday with the breakaway group accusing the official body of intimidating its players.

The lawsuit was filed by the Indian Cricket League (ICL) in the Delhi High Court, a spokesperson of the group confirmed.

The ICL also sought a direction to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to allow it to use stadiums across the country for its tournaments.

The move by the multi-million-dollar league follows the decision of one of the rebel players to go back to the BCCI fold after having earlier signed up for the ICL.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla, a veteran all-rounder on the domestic scene and who represents the state of Bengal, said he no longer relished the idea of a rebel league.

“I am not enjoying the idea of joining the ICL. My heart is with Bengal and I want to play for the country,” Shukla was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India on Friday.

Shukla was among the 44 players who were paraded by the ICL at Mumbai on Monday and slated to take part in its inaugural Twenty20 competition later this year.

Shukla said he did not like the atmosphere of the ICL function and that Cricket Association of Bengal officials convinced him to remain with the official set-up.

The ICL is due to kick-off in October and has signed up about 50 Indian domestic cricketers and several foreign players despite the boards of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka announcing bans on those who associate with them.

The BCCI has revealed that it may organise a glitzy Twenty20 series of their own to cut the unofficial series down to size.

BCCI Vice-president Lalit Modi, who is charged with garnering sponsorships and funds for official cricket in India, hinted on Thursday at the new project.

The BCCI also announced a substantial increase in prize money for its domestic players on Tuesday in an apparent bid to counter the threat posed by the cash-rich league.—AFP

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