ISLAMABAD // Mohammad Yousuf's decision to rejoin the non-sanctioned Indian Cricket League (ICL) has shocked former Pakistan Test cricketers. The star batsman's decision has seen him banned from playing for Pakistan in any form of the game, after the country's cricket board stuck by their decision to ban any of their players who join the rebel league. "I am disappointed because ethically Yousuf has done a wrong thing," the ex-Test captain Aamir Sohail said. "It's all about money, it's not about integrity, it's not about pride."
Yousuf is expected to make his ICL debut on Friday for the Lahore Badshahs, a team comprising Pakistani players, after rejoining the Twenty20 league yesterday. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) reacted to Yousuf's move by banning him from the national team and cutting his name from the 15-man squad for three limited-overs internationals against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi from Nov 12-16. The PCB, the International Cricket Council (ICC), and other national associations do not recognise the ICL, which runs in competition to the officially recognised Indian Premier League.
The IPL Twenty20 is officially sanctioned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Sohail blamed former captains Inzamam-ul-Haq and Moin Khan for luring current Pakistan players towards the ICL. Inzamam is captaining Lahore Badhshahs while Khan is the coach of the team. "The PCB should look what the role of these two players is," Sohail said. "They are actually enticing these players." Sohail said that there is no harm in retired cricketers like Inzamam playing in the ICL, "but if key current players from all the major Test playing nations are lured toward ICL, then it will become very difficult." Sohail said, urging the ICC to intervene.
"Cricket is no more a gentleman's game which it used to be in the sixties and seventies," Sohail added. "Now the onus is on the ICC (and) how it tackles this storm of money which is luring players and will definitely affect Test and one-day cricket." Last year, the former PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf convinced Yousuf to cancel his ICL contract and play for Pakistan. "The PCB even compensated him financially," Sohail said. "But now he rejoined the ICL which clearly means that big sums of money are luring players."
The ex-Test leg-spinner Abdul Qadir said he will act firmly against Yousuf to set an example for other cricketers. "Our cricket has been badly damaged with discipline problems, like players involvement in doping scandals," Qadir said, referring to the fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif's positive drug tests over the last two years. "We are already lacking in discipline and the PCB should now start taking strict actions.
"Whatever name Yousuf has earned in international cricket is because of Pakistan and he has let down millions of his supporters by joining the ICL." *AP