Yousuf finally joins ICL, to play for Lahore Badshahs

November 5th, 2008 - 7:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 5 (IANS) Pakistan batsman Mohammed Yousuf officially joined the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) Wednesday, risking a life-ban from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).Yousuf indicated that the decision to join the rebel Twenty20 league was to avoid the legal tangle in which he had trapped himself.

“I made a mistake when I signed with them (ICL) first. Now I am here to play for ICL but I also want to play for my country,” Yousuf told reporters here.

Yousuf quietly flew in to Delhi Monday after he was selected for the one-day series against West Indies. The Pakistan selectors are now looking for his replacement in the squad.

Asked whether he risked a life-ban by joining ICL, Yousuf said: “I am always ready to play for the country but it depends on the PCB whether they want to include me in the team or not. From ICL’s part, I am free to play for my country anytime.”

The 34-year-old middle-order batsman had signed a contract with ICL last year but was pursued to change his plans by former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) boss Nasim Ashraf, who instead got him (Yousuf) a contract with the official Indian Premier League (IPL). However, Yousuf failed to attract any IPL franchisee at the players’ auction.

After failing to take part in the first edition of the ICL, Yousuf was served a legal notice for breaching the contract and the case is still lying in the Bombay High Court.

But both the parties, Essel Group (promoters of ICL) and Yousuf, made it clear that the courts cases have been settled.

“There was indeed a misunderstanding between both the parties. But whatever arbitration and court cases we had against each other have been settled and Yousuf will play for the Lahore Badshahs,” said ICL’s business head Himanshu Modi.

Modi also dismissed reports that Yousuf has taken any money from IPL. “No money has exchanged hands and he has no contract with the IPL. So IPL can’t take any legal action against him but you never know and if something happens we will stand by Yousuf.”

Yousuf will debut for Lahore Badshahs against Dhaka Warriors Friday at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad. He will also play for ICL Pakistan under Inzamam ul Haq in the four-team World Series starting Nov 23 also at the same venue.

Asked why it took so long for him to take the final call, Yousuf said: “There were some misunderstandings and some people misguided me. I have been speaking with them for the past 10-12 days. It was my fault and now I am here to make amends.”

Yousuf said he has not received any message from the PCB on his move to join the ICL.

On the talks between ICL and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Modi said they are waiting for BCCI’s report to the International Cricket Council (ICC) before taking any step.

“The BCCI will file a report on the discussion we had with them. But we don’t think it will be more than a three-line report. The deadline to file the report is this week and depending on what they file we will take our next step,” he said.

Former India captain Kapil Dev, who is the chairman of the ICL’s executive board, declined to comment on the suspension of Chris Cairns and Dinesh Mongia.

Chandigarh Lions captain Cairns and middle order batsman Mongia were suspended last week by the ICL executive board on disciplinary grounds for the rest of the season.

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