Nasim Ashraf assures support October 21, 2007

ICL has no case against Yousuf - PCB

Cricinfo staff

Mohammad Yousuf is still involved in a tug of war between the PCB and the ICL and faces legal action over his decision to quit the league © AFP

The Pakistan Cricket Board has decided to defend Mohammad Yousuf and said that the Indian Cricket Leage (ICL) cannot stop him from playing for his country after the league organisers sent out a legal notice to the batsman.

"The ICL has no case against Yousuf and they cannot stop him from playing for Pakistan," Nasim Ashraf, chairman PCB, told the News. "Yousuf did sign a contract with them but later he changed his mind and cancelled it. As a player he had the right to opt for any offer which he thought was better for him."

Yousuf, who after cancelling his contract with the ICL, signed a national contract as well as signing up to play in the India Premier League (IPL), a recognised league that is run by four different national boards and is approved by the ICC. He was served a legal notice by the ICL after several attempts to contact him failed.

"We can confirm that we have indeed sent out a notice to Yousuf," Ashish Kaul, executive president of the ICL, told Cricinfo last week. "We have been trying to reach out to him and sent out three reminders to discuss some crucial issues after the PCB clarified recently that Yousuf will not play in the ICL and make himself available for Pakistan."

However, Ashraf rejected the impression that the ICL can use any legal ways to stop Yousuf from playing for Pakistan in India next month. "The ICL is claiming that they will not stop any of their recruits from playing for their country then how can they stop Yousuf from representing Pakistan.

"The ICL did have a clause in their contract that said that a player cannot give priority to national duty over the ICL but now they say that the clause has been removed and they claim that their players can leave the league to play for their national teams whenever required. I believe in such circumstances they have no justification to stop Yousuf from playing in India."

Ashraf confirmed that if the matter was to go to court, Yousuf will have the full backing of the PCB. "We will fully defend Yousuf, if he is taken to court using all legal means."

Yousuf recently represented Pakistan in the second Test against South Africa and is currently involved in the five-match ODI series against the same opposition, where he scored a match-winning hundred in the second match in Lahore.