Razzaq says he's out of the ICL
Abdul Razzaq, the Pakistan allrounder, says he has been released from his contract with the ICL. The news could not be confirmed with the ICL, which on Wednesday released 50-odd players from their contracts, but, if true, Razzaq would qualify for the amnesty announced by the PCB.
"I have been released from my contract with the ICL," Razzaq told Cricinfo. "I am available and willing to play for Pakistan."
It won't be that simple: Unlike other boards that have announced an umbrella amnesty for players quitting the ICL by May 31, the PCB said it would consider selecting players on a case-by-case basis. "While permitting such players to play cricket, PCB will decide on case-to-case basis the penalties to be imposed and the time period for which they will remain banned," the PCB said.
Though the BCCI has put in place a 'cooling off' period of a year - whereby an ex-ICL player will only be eligible to represent India after a year away from the ICL - the PCB in effect, has left the door open for players to return sooner.
The stance adopted by the PCB is understandable, given how badly it was affected by the ban on ICL players. Nineteen players from Pakistan signed up with the league, nearly half of whom, can conceivably represent Pakistan still. The defection took away nearly the entire bench strength of the national side. Key among them are the likes of Razzaq and Mohammad Yousuf, and even players such as Imran Nazir, who could well be part of a Pakistan line-up in one of the three formats of the game.
The move by various national boards to offer amnesty to the ICL players was prompted by the BCCI's offer to ICL's Indian players that was made on April 29. Since then, the Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South Africa boards have proceeded similarly.