County news April 1, 2010

Essex stung by Yusuf Pathan withdrawal

Cricinfo staff

Essex have become the latest victim of the BCCI's decision to revoke 'No Objection Certificates' for their contracted players to play in the English Twenty20 Cup with Yusuf Pathan being ruled out.

Pathan, a destructive batsman and offspin bowler, had been signed by Essex six weeks ago under agreement that he would be available. Yet, days after Northamptonshire announced that Virender Sehwag's NOC had also been revoked, Essex were told by the BCCI that Pathan would not be made available.

David East, the Essex chief executive, was disappointed and puzzled by the decision. "Six weeks ago we completed the signing. We made the decision not to make this public until we had received the NOC from the BCCI. We made a formal request for Yusuf's release to the BCCI and received verbal confirmation from the player that this would be granted by them," he said.

"On the March 26 we received official confirmation from BCCI that Yusuf could play for us this season, subject to the usual agreement that should he be required for international duty during his time with us then he would be released back to play for India.

"Unfortunately the following day (March 27) we received notification that the NOC had been revoked by the BCCI because of a review of the Indian players international workload during the course of the year. Naturally we are very disappointed and puzzled by the timing of their decision."

Pathan is currently playing for the Rajasthan Royals at the IPL and recently scored the fastest ever IPL hundred, off 37 balls against Mumbai Indians. His presence would have been a major boon for cricket fans in England and will be seen in some quarters as an example of the BCCI flexing its muscles at the ECB. No decision has been made over Piyush Chawla, who is due to go to Surrey this season. He is a less high-profile player than Sehwag or Pathan but the precedent set does not bode well for Surrey.