LONDON - The International Cricket Council (ICC) has launched an urgent investigation after the Essel Group, the company behind the now defunct Indian Cricket League, began registering companies with names that appear to be rival national cricket boards, raising fears of a future split in world cricket.

The matter was discussed during last week’s ICC board meeting in Dubai, along with the recent registration of website domain names, including, by an employee of the broadcaster Ten Sports, which is a subsidiary of the Essel-owned Zee Entertainment Enterprises.

Cricket Australia was the first body to be alerted to the issue last December and have subsequently objected to the registration of Australia Cricket Control Limited by the subsidiary Essel Corporation Mauritius. New Zealand Cricket has also issued similar proceedings against the establishment of New Zealand Cricket Limited, Kiwi Cricket limited and Aotearoa Cricket Limited (after the Maori name for the country) by the same company.

Cricket Scotland, an ICC associate member, has similarly found itself involved, with the board aware of a company being set up in Edinburgh under the name of Cricket Control Scotland Limited. Cricket Scotland wrote to its founder earlier this year to seek an explanation, setting a deadline of 6 April for a response, but has not heard back.

At the same time, a number of website domain names, which include and other variants thereof, have been registered, with their origin traced back to one Deepak Srivastava, a senior IT manager at Ten Sports. Such moves by Essel, whose rebel ICL tournament ran from 2007 until its collapse in 2009, and Ten Sports, the host broadcasters for home international matches played by West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Zimbabwe, have left cricket chiefs questioning whether fresh moves are afoot for another breakaway cricket tournament.

Now the England and Wales Cricket Board, led by its outgoing chairman, Giles Clarke, has requested these boards establish the motives behind the moves from their broadcast partner, with a spokesperson telling the Guardian: “The ECB is aware and the chairman briefed our board a few days ago, following an ICC board meeting last week where this matter was raised.

 “We don’t know the motives behind these registrations and need to know more. In the absence of any proper explanation, there is clearly a concern for cricket and the ECB. Ten Sports are not a partner of the ECB so we’ve asked our colleagues at Boards with whom there’s a direct relationship to help in clarifying this situation with their broadcast partner. At this stage, until we know more, there’s nothing more we can add.”

A Cricket Australia spokesman said on Friday: “We’re certainly aware of the registration. It is a concern but the ICC has been informed and the matter is being investigated. It’s difficult to say more until we have more information.” Essel has long been frustrated by their lack of presence in the Indian broadcast market, where Star Sports owns the rights for international cricket and the Champions League, and Sony televises the Indian Premier League.

Essel’s past failure to secure rights in the region led to its establishment of the ICL in 2007, an unofficial breakaway tournament that was dogged with problems until its collapse two years later. Some players were not paid in full by the organisers while allegations of corruption have also since emerged, with the former New Zealand international Lou Vincent admitting to fixing games during his time playing for the Chandigarh Lions in 2008.