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September 19, 2008
Mohammad Yousuf, who is involved in arbitration proceedings with the ICL, faces a life ban if he joins the unofficial league, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said.
The News, a Pakistan daily, quoted an unnamed PCB official as saying, "We have banned all our cricketers who joined the ICL and if Yousuf also plays for the unauthorised league then he will have to face the same punishment. Yousuf is still our best Test batsman and has a future with the Pakistan team, but not if he joins the ICL. It will be game over for him if he joined the rebel league."
Yousuf signed a contract with the ICL in the wake of his omission from Pakistan's squad for the ICC World Twenty20 last year, but the PCB later convinced him to cancel his ICL contract and instead sign up for the IPL, a league approved by the national boards, as well as turn up for national duty.
Subsequently the ICL had warned the various IPL franchises that they could face legal complications if they bought Yousuf in the player auctions. Yousuf was not bought by any of the IPL teams, but he was compensated by the league's organisers, who gave him US$350,000 - his starting bid price.
Pakistan's selectors have continued to ignore Yousuf while picking Twenty20 teams, and he was left out of the provisional squad for the Canada Cup Four Nation 20/20 next month. "I just want to know what the selection procedure is," Yousuf told the Urdu newspaper Daily Jang. "You go and ask great players like Wasim Akram and Inzamam-ul-Haq if I don't deserve to play Twenty20 cricket. If they say I should be dropped then I will quit all cricket."
Yousuf felt his lack of agility on the field wasn't enough reason for the selectors keep him out. "I just want to ask them 'how many Jonty Rhodes are there in the Pakistan team?'" Yousuf will lead the Lahore Lions in Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 tournament but said he has nothing to prove. "It's not a test case for me," he said. "After representing Pakistan for 11 years, I just want to make it clear that I am not playing to prove my abilities to anyone."
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