'Yousuf's decision ill-timed and unfortunate' - Intikhab Alam
Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan coach, has criticised Mohammad Yousuf's decision to join the ICL. Yousuf has been a key middle-order batsman for Pakistan for several years but Alam was confident the team could cope with the loss.
"Yousuf has been the backbone of the middle-order batting but since he is no longer eligible to play for Pakistan, we must look ahead and groom a replacement.," he said. "Yousuf's decision is not only ill-timed but unfortunate as well. I am positive we can overcome his loss as we have the talent to find a suitable replacement in time."
Aamer Sohail, the former Pakistan captain, was also unhappy with Yousuf's decision and accused him of ditching his country in signing with the ICL. "The PCB supported him in his fight with the court cases relating to the ICL and he left them in the lurch at a time when Pakistan cricket is in turmoil," Sohail said. "Yousuf converted to Islam and it became his strength but I am sorry to say that he spoiled his image by ditching a country that has given him fame and wealth."
However another former captain Zaheer Abbas said the board's decision to ban Yousuf was not the right step. Although it's a great loss to the country, you can't stop anyone from playing privately," Abbas told AFP. "In a scenario when Pakistan's batting strength is already weak, Yousuf's move to the ICL is a big loss."
Yousuf had initially signed with the league in September 2007, protesting his omission from Pakistan's squad for the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa. He was later lured out of playing in the ICL by the Pakistan board, with the promise of a lucrative contract in the IPL.
But the ICL took the matter to an arbitration court in Mumbai, arguing that Yousuf, as he had signed up with them, was ineligible to play for any other league. A stay order was passed on Yousuf's participation in the IPL, though an appeal was later filed by the PCB on Yousuf's behalf in the Bombay High Court.
The Pakistan board is now looking to recoup the losses incurred while fighting Yousuf's case.