ICL players consider legal action against PCB
The group of players barred from representing Pakistan or playing in the country's domestic cricket for playing in the Indian Cricket League (ICL) is considering taking legal action against the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Imran Farhat, Taufeeq Umar and Shabbir Ahmed - the three currently active players who would be otherwise eligible for Pakistan selection - hit out at the board's decision , arguing that it was an attempt "to destroy our livelihood."
"We will discuss this among ourselves and take some advice from Inzi bhai before we move forward," Farhat told Cricinfo. "This is a very sad situation and we will try everything in our powers to get back to playing for Pakistan."
Farhat and Umar said legal action was a definite possibility, while also clarifying remarks made by the PCB over a petition the players had apparently filed against the ban earlier at the Lahore High Court. Nasim Ashraf, chairman PCB, said the court had dismissed the petition, but Farhat said this was not the case.
"The petition wasn't filed," Farhat explained. "We reconsidered and decided to wait on it because the message conveyed to us was that the board's governing committee might change its mind and let us play after their meeting [on January 25]."
The board did offer one way back for the players, suggesting that if they pulled out of their ICL contracts, they would consider any subsequent appeal to lift the restriction. But Farhat insisted that pulling out of his three-year contract was not an option.
"That contract gives me security. It is like a safety net for me. What safety do we get here? We will not pull out of it on principle alone," Farhat said. "The board is happy to send players to the Indian Premier League (IPL), which is also another separate league. What is the difference between that and this? Will the IPL also not harm Pakistan cricket?"
Though the ICL isn't officially involved in helping the players in a legal battle should one arise, the group is planning to seek constant advice from the organizers on how to move forward.
Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo