County news October 28, 2008

Surrey release Saqlain, cut ties with ICL

Cricinfo staff

Saqlain Mushtaq: a familiar sight at The Oval since 1997 © Getty Images

Surrey have distanced themselves from the ICL by releasing one of the county's favourite sons, Saqlain Mushtaq.

ICL players are fast becoming pariahs of international cricket, as national boards and counties are pressured not to acknowledge the so-called rebel tournament or anyone associated with it. The BCCI, for example, did not release Harbhajan Singh to Surrey so long as they had an ICL player, such as Saqlain, on their books.

The IPL, however, is officially recognised by the ICC, and Surrey have made it absolutely clear The Oval would make a perfect venue to host IPL games.

"We are not prepared to go into next season with an ICL player," chief executive Paul Sheldon told the BBC. "Clubs are not being encouraged to be associated with ICL players and it's our policy not to be. We are talking to Saqlain about how we can come to some arrangement because he can't get out of his ICL contract."

Now that Surrey have severed their ICL links, Sheldon added Surrey could re-sign the Indian offspinner, Harbhajan, who now is likely to be granted a no-objection certificate from the Indian board.