ISLAMABAD // The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has banned Mohammad Yousuf from the national team after the veteran batsman rejoined the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League. Yousuf was cut from the 15-man squad for three limited-overs internationals against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi from Nov 12-16. He will be replaced by batsman Khalid Latif. "He is banned with immediate effect to play in or for Pakistan," the PCB Director of Cricket Operations Zakir Khan said. "We have also terminated his central contract."
Yousuf travelled to New Delhi on Monday, hours after the team for the West Indies series was announced, without informing the PCB officials or team management. ICL officials said that the 34-year-old batsman had signed for the Lahore-based Badshahs in the rebel Twenty20 league. The PCB has banned all players contracted to the ICL from its national or domestic competitions. Other high-profile players include the ex-Test captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, the all-rounders Azhar Mahmood and Abdul Razzaq and the opening batsman Imran Farhat.
"Like all the other cricket (national) boards we have a firm policy toward ICL," Khan added. "We have tried to stop all our players to compete in the controversial Indian Cricket League." Yousuf signed for the ICL last year, but the PCB convinced him not to play in the competition so that he could continue playing for the national team. That prompted legal action from the ICL for breach of contract.
He later tried to join the Indian Premier League, the Board of Control for Cricket in India-backed Twenty20 league that is sanctioned by the International Cricket Council, but that move was blocked by the ICL. The distinctively bearded top-order batsman has played 79 Test matches and 269 limited-overs internationals for Pakistan. Until converting from Christianity to Islam in 2005, he was known as Yousuf Youhana. He has scored 6,770 runs at an average of 55.50 in Test cricket and 9,242 runs at an average of 43 in one-day internationals.