Pak court lifts ban on ICL players

February 2nd, 2009 - 5:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Feb 2 (IANS) Pakistan’s Indian Cricket League (ICL) players heaved a sigh of relief Monday when the Sindh High Court (SHC) suspended a ban imposed on them by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).”Justice Amir Hani Muslim has suspended the ban on the ICL players by which the ICL players were barred from playing domestic cricket. So the ban is now suspended and the players are free to play in local tournaments,” Zahid Fakhr Ibrahim, the top Karachi lawyer, hired by the ICL players, said.

It is a major victory for around 20 of Pakistan’s leading cricketers who were staring at a bleak future after being banned by PCB and hit by uncertainty about their ICL future because of strained Indo-Pak relations.

The Pakistani players associated with the ICL include the country’s premier batsman Mohammad Yousuf, former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Imran Nazir, Rana Naved-ul-Hassan and Mohammad Sami. Most of them play for Lahore Badshahs which won the ICL crown in its previous season last year.

The SHC has summoned PCB officials for its next hearing Feb 10.

The ICL players were forced to go to court after PCB rejected their pleas to at least allow them to play domestic cricket. Last week, a letter was sent to the PCB by retired judge Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim on behalf of the players, asking the Board to clarify its stance on the ICL.

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt had said last month that the PCB has banned ICL players in line with the policy of the International Cricket Council (ICC). However, the ICC has clarified time and again that it has not banned any players over the ICL issue.

When contacted Moin Khan — a former captain and ICL’s representative in Pakistan — said that he and fellow players are pleased with the decision.

“It is a victory for justice,” said Moin who is also the coach of Lahore Badshahs. “Most of the ICL players can still represent Pakistan,” he added.

Lawyer Ibrahim said that the decision to allow ICL players to play for Pakistan rests with the PCB.

Meanwhile, PCB refused to comment on the development with a senior PCB official saying that a statement would be released later.

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