Pak ‘rebels’ hoping for ICL recognition

July 11th, 2008 - 2:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, July 11 (IANS) Pakistan’s ‘rebel’ cricketers are hoping that the decision of the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL) to sue the International Cricket Council (ICC) will finally enable them to get rid of the life ban imposed on them by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The ICL Friday had warned the ICC that it is preparing a legal case, which could lead to the world cricket’s governing body being sued in London High Court.

Pakistan’s discarded Test opener Imran Farhat welcomed the move saying that he and fellow Pakistani cricketers want to be cleared of what he termed is an unfair ban.

“We are professional cricketers and want to earn our bread and butter by playing cricket,” Farhat said Friday. “The ICL is a platform that enables us to do just that,” he added.

Imran featured for the Lahore Badshahs in this year’s edition of the ICL held in Gurgaon, Chandigarh and Hyderabad. Other prominent Pakistani players who were part of the ICL included former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, star all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Sami, Taufeeq Umar, Hassan Raza and another ex-captain Moin Khan as coach.

The ICL has been completely isolated by the world cricket bosses, especially after the establishment of the official Indian Premier League (IPL). Cricket boards of several countries have banned their players who’ve joined the ICL.

The organisers of the ICL are now preparing to hit back.

An ICL statement said Friday that letters have been exchanged between the ICL and the ICC as the league seeks to overturn bans imposed on its players by the national boards. The league, which privately concedes it has little more than another year’s viable operation, feels it is being discriminated against because the ICC has refused to recognise it.

The ICL has been denied access to stadiums in India because it is considered by the ICC to be “unauthorised” cricket, and boards across the world are refusing to select for Tests those who have played in the league. The ICL believes it has a strong case that the bans are an unlawful restraint of trade, said the statement.

In 1978, Justice Sir Christopher Slade gave the judgment in favour of Tony Greig and Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket in a Test case against the English board chairman, Doug Insole, and the suspensions his organisation had imposed. “They would preclude the players concerned from entry into the important fields of professional livelihood,” said Slade.

A separate petition has been filed by the ICL in the Delhi high court, challenging the position of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). But that will not conclude for 12 months and ICC sources privately believe that if it is made a principal in the high court action it will be for the purpose of calling the BCCI to the witness box within a shorter time-scale.

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