Pakistan news November 21, 2008

Miandad questions rationale of ICL ban


Top Curve
Case against Yousuf put on hold
  • In a further indicator of a shift in the PCB's thinking on the ICL, the legal case it developed against Mohammad Yousuf, the latest Pakistan player to join the ICL, has been put on hold.
  • Yousuf joined the Lahore Badshahs earlier this month, without having told the PCB about his decision. The board responded by tearing up his central contract; they also initiated legal proceedings against him for breach of contract and to claim legal costs the PCB incurred while trying to resolve the earlier mess Yousuf had created by signing for the ICL before turning his back on them in the hope of an IPL contract.
  • "We've put the case on hold for now," a board official told Cricinfo. "The thinking is that if we pursue the case against Yousuf, then what about the other Pakistan players in the ICL who had contracts with us?"
  • A number of players, such as Imran Farhat, Abdul Razzaq and Mohammad Sami had central contracts with the board before they signed up for the ICL in September 2007.
Bottom Curve

Javed Miandad, the former Pakistan captain and newly appointed director-general of the PCB, has joined a steadily growing chorus of concern against the ban on ICL players and the marginalisation of the unrecognised Twenty20 league. Miandad believes there is immense "public pressure" on the PCB to bring ICL players back into the Pakistan fold and "past decisions by past [PCB] administrations" have "nothing to do with the new set-up".

The PCB banned all players contracted by the ICL but Miandad said it's a policy the new board administration must reconsider, keeping in mind the "best interests" of Pakistan cricket.

Pakistan has suffered badly from the ban on ICL players imposed by boards around the world, essentially to back the BCCI in its dispute with the league and its owners. As many as 19 Pakistan players - a mix of current and former internationals - are currently appearing in the ICL and the bans on them have severely depleted Pakistan's reserves.

"There is a lot of public pressure on the PCB to bring these players back from the ICL," Miandad told Cricinfo. "The [ICL] players themselves are ready to represent Pakistan. The IPL, the ICL and all boards need to sit down and really sort this issue out," Miandad said, joining former captains-turned-administrators Arjuna Ranatunga and Clive Lloyd in expressing the need for a resolution to the issue.

Miandad's comments do not yet indicate a wholesale change in the board's policy on the issue. The previous PCB administration, under the chairmanship of Nasim Ashraf, banned players readily, in swift appeasement of the BCCI. But it is believed the current board is open to rethinking, or at least questioning, the stance.

"Past decisions were taken by past administrations," Miandad said. "They have nothing to do with this new set-up. It is something we must look at and discuss, and find out whether that policy [of the ban] had any benefit to it. We have to look at our best interests."

Miandad placed the current bans in the context of past actions, such as the bans on players who traveled to apartheid-era South Africa. "Those bans were based on an intelligent policy. What was happening there was abhorrent. What is the intent behind this ban?"

Ultimately, this is not an issue of nations but of cricket itself, Miandad said. "Even Indian players are suffering. It isn't just Pakistan players. This is a loss for cricket and cricketers and a resolution has to be brought in, in a respectful way."

With a number of ex-cricketers now in prominent positions in the board, the matter has been discussed informally inside, though it has yet to be done so as part of an official agenda. Statements, such as those given by Miandad, might be part of a new strategy to shake up the BCCI-enforced status quo.

But Miandad's employers are keen to examine the issue pragmatically as well, which means essentially they will be guided by a number of legal considerations. "The ICL is still not recognised by the ICC but the ICC believes that if the matter goes to litigation, they are not too optimistic about the case," an official said. "It is about restraint of trade essentially. And what is happening in Sri Lanka where domestic bans have been lifted and in the UK through the Kolpak ruling, that will also have an effect. If you can have one private Twenty20 league why not two?

"We will wait and see and be guided by our legal advice for our view on the matter but these factors will play a role."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Coolest on November 24, 2008, 17:43 GMT

    This is ridiculous, why is BCCI forcing other boards to ban their player ? Hello !! BCCI does not run cricket in other countries, but it sure looks like they are doing it at the moment. What is the purpose of other cricket boards like PCB and ICC ? If BCCI is going to run cricket in every country that there is no need for others cricketing boards and even ICC. Other boards need to understand that they are the ones who are suffering from banning players. BCCI is run by bunch of uneducated politicians, who themselves do not understand that they will not lose anything from allowing ICL to do what they are already doing. ICL can never hurt Indian cricket or even IPL. If BCCI drop their policy of banning players than it will benefit every board including BCCI and all players will be happy as ever. Because of less public interest in ICL, it will always stay below IPL, who always fill their grounds and have a lot better TRP than ICL. So there is no way that ICL is hurting BCCI anyway ...

  • Pk on November 24, 2008, 14:24 GMT

    i agree with miandad. Every player has the right to play cricket for their country. the significant difference of playing for ICL and going on a rebel tour must be understood by everyone. we must not let BCCI decide, i hop the icc will act fast to make sure icl players are given a chance to represent their country. If they dont make that decision it is obvious who is running world cricket BCCI or the ICC.

  • Ajanthan on November 24, 2008, 7:25 GMT

    I Keep saying that both IPL AND ICL are domestic events in India and both should not rule the international game. Its a shame that ICC has not yet taken this simple decision. What has India's captain, employed by BCCI has said, "Country before Franchise" this apply to other nations as well, other countires cannot suffer losing cricket matches to India by playing second string players because of BCCI'S ban on ICL players. BCCI can afford to ban players because they have the money to retain their best players not joining ICL, but other countires cannot afford this and other countires cannot suffer because they don't have the money as much as BCCI. Both IPL & ICL should be banned by ICC until a decision has been taken by the ICC regading the confilct between ICL & IPL. How can one be legal and other not when the ICC is yet to take a decision on ICL's request for recognition. How would BCCI react if Dhoni joins ICL?

  • hayden on November 24, 2008, 5:01 GMT

    good on Miandad for showing the PCB has some spine once again!!! its all good for the BCCI to ban the ICL in order to protect its money making 20/20 league the IPL. but the problem is its not a internal problem its not just effecting india its effecting pakistan, sri lanka & bangledesh & to some extent new zealand and south africa. these nation's boards do not make any money out of the IPL unlike the BCCI and therefor are loosing quality players for nothing but to protect another nations board's revenue! how has banning Razzak, Sami etc helped pakistan cricket? simply it hasnt!!! i for one hope pakistan lift the ban so they can have their best possible 11 on the field and i hope india dont cancel their tour to pakistan because of it!!! after all that pakistan cricket and it's supporters have gone through, they deserve to be able to see their best team playing and on home soil too!

  • Abid Ali on November 24, 2008, 4:58 GMT

    I agree with miandad that ICL players should back in Pakistan team because Pakistan team has a problem in opening and our best openers " Imran Nazir " & " Imran Farhat " playing ICL if they will beck in Pakistan team then Pakistani team get a strong opening pair & our best great all-rounder " Abdul Razzaq " ," Azhar Mahmood " & " Rana Navid " are playing ICL and also our best batsman " Mohammad Yousaf " also join the ICL.

    I requested PCB please take back the ban form ICL players

  • Mohammed Athar on November 23, 2008, 11:16 GMT

    Here i support Miandan cos here the performance of LahoreBadshas was really good, My dream team for Pakistan is like inclusion of few member's like AbdulRazzak,ImranNazir,ImranFarhat,NavidRana & AzharMahmood cos they where fabilous in the ICL.

  • Syed on November 23, 2008, 2:56 GMT

    Finally we have someone with spine, incharge in pakistan

  • Dnyanesh on November 22, 2008, 11:37 GMT

    I dont agree with the ones who say that BCCI takes care of Indian cricket interests and ICL is all about making money. In fact ICL had bet, probably unwisely, to sink in large sums of money into a concept that will work only if TRP's come in. Whereas BCCI wandered into IPL only when forced by ICL. And today they make it sound as if its their brainchild. And the state of our domestic cricket is not something to be proud about. And did you see the crowd turnout at the blue riband test matches between India and Australia. At best BCCI can be compared to the Public sector companies who made money but moved at the speed of a snail. Look at the way telephony or internet has changed after private players were allowed. The success of IPL is not Lalit Modi's alone. Subhash Chandra showed it can be done and that toowith his hand tied behind his back.

    How exciting Champions league would have been if it had names like Lahore Badshah's and Hyderabad Heroes playing?

  • Abdullah on November 22, 2008, 10:47 GMT

    as mentioned by miandad that there is a lot of pressure from public and local media to pick players from icl and add them to the national squad i think it would be good ithe interest of Pakistan team.

  • Jaffar on November 22, 2008, 7:49 GMT

    Well it is always nice to have more cricket, ICL should be just a one off tournament and take permission from BCCI (as sole custodian for developing cricket in India), BCCI can charge some amount to ICL for letting it have the tournament, since, BCCI is the one who spends money onto grounds in India, officials, Umpires, Under age group cricket, Ranji's etc and also pay domestic players.

    This is because, ICL will be using popular cricketers who have come through respective country boards grassroot levels. I doubt the motives of tournaments of ICL's nature as i can remember, ICL was started after the denial of telecast rights to ZEE. Today it is Zee, tomorrow any corporate house with money can do the same. Also, remember the respective country boards have to squeeze in the cricket calender also.

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