Indian Cricket League May 20, 2009

PCB asks Yousuf for ICL's response

The PCB has asked Mohammad Yousuf to obtain a response from the ICL to his resignation request as it moves forward in a bid to bring back the batsman into the national set-up.

Yousuf met PCB officials Wasim Bari, Mohammad Naeem and Zakir Khan at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore and told them he had resigned from the ICL. "We met Mohammad Yousuf today and he told us he wants to play for Pakistan and that he has resigned from the ICL," Bari, PCB's director HR and administration, told Cricinfo.

"He showed us the resignation letter. We have asked him to come back to us with their response, whatever that is," Bari said. "Once we have something from them, we can move forward. We have to take it step-by-step. He said he would get back to us as soon as possible."

Yousuf told reporters later he was not sure whether he would be able to obtain an NOC from the ICL but wanted to play for Pakistan. But the board did not specify whether they were looking for an NOC specifically, just a response of some kind. That indicates that the door remains open, for now, for the matter to move forward even if Yousuf does not get an NOC. At almost the same time, the ICL released a statement paving the way for certain contracted players to move back into the mainstream. An ICL statement said a few domestic and overseas players had asked to be released to pursue cricket with state or national associations and the league would not stop them from doing so. It is unclear at the moment whether Yousuf is one of those international players.

The PCB, in line with boards around the world, recently announced an amnesty for ICL players who gave up their links to the league by May 31. But unlike the BCCI which announced a cooling-off period of a year before ICL players could be eligible for national and international cricket again, the PCB said it would go on a case-by-case basis: some could come back immediately and others after some time. ICL players from Pakistan are already allowed to play domestic cricket.

Once the documentation is in, it is believed that Yousuf might be one of those players who comes back sooner rather than later. Pakistan's batting in ODIs has struggled without his presence, particularly in the recent ODI series against Australia, but Bari would only say that the board would "go by its stated policy. The meeting was a very positive one and we want to take positive steps from here."

Yousuf has left the ICL once before, when he signed with them in 2007, but was lured out of the contract by the then PCB administration. Legal wrangles ensued, which stopped him from getting an IPL contract in 2008. But he played for Pakistan during the year, before suddenly opting to join the ICL again in November, on the day he was picked in an ODI squad to play against West Indies.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo