PCB allows ICL rebels to feature in domestic circuit

February 11th, 2009 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Feb 11 (IANS) Pakistan’s cricket bosses have decided against contesting a court decision to lift domestic ban on the country’s players in the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL).
Shan Gul, Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) lawyer, told reporters here Wednesday that the PCB will obey the Sind High Court (SHC) verdict to suspend the domestic ban on ICL-contracted players, which means that 11 cricketers previously banned from domestic events can feature in the next round of Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches for their respective departments.

A total of 11 players from the 21 cricketers associated with the unofficial ICL went to court against a domestic ban slapped on them by the PCB.

The SHC suspended the ban at the first hearing, Feb 2, but players were not been able to participate in the latest round of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy because the order had not been passed on to the various departmental teams involved.

The second hearing was to take place Wednesday in Karachi but was adjourned till Feb 25 because the presiding judge was not available.

However, the PCB lawyer said that the board has no objection over the players’ return to domestic cricket.

“We bow before the order of the court,” Gul said in an interview. “The case has been adjourned till February 25 but the players can absolutely take part in domestic cricket as of now.”

The ICL cricketers were banned by the previous PCB management. But Gul said that the current PCB regime has a different view on the issue. “The present board does not support the manner in which the ban was imposed by the previous administration,” Gul said.

Meanwhile, PCB chairman Ijaz Butt has warned that the ICL players might face tougher sanctions at the hands of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“The new regulations in place from June 1 are much tougher. Now the ICC can also punish countries directly with fines and sanctions if they let unauthorised players appear,” he told reporters in Lahore.

Butt is under pressure from various quarters to recall top players like premier batsman Mohammad Yousuf, who was banned last November because of his ICL links.

“It is up to the ICC and the BCCI to decide (the fate of ICL players) and negotiations are still happening. A decision has to come from there,” said the PCB chief.

“As far as domestic cricket is concerned, the ICC said wherever it is challenged legally they can let them play. If Mohammad Yousuf leaves the ICL, we will take him back tomorrow, but we can’t right now.”

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