Pakistan cricket May 2, 2009

Razzaq ready to pledge future to Pakistan

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Abdul Razzaq has said he is ready to sign a letter pledging his future to Pakistan and not the ICL, as the ramifications of the PCB's policy on players with the private Indian league takes root. Mohammad Yousuf has already claimed he has 'resigned' from the league and though Razzaq has not taken that step yet, he said he was willing to leave the league and play for Pakistan.

Like Yousuf, Razzaq also had problems with the previous board administration and Pakistan captain. He is one of the ICL players to have met with current Pakistan captain Younis Khan over the last month to discuss a future with the national side, worried it is believed, about the future of the ICL. "We are ready to leave the ICL and play for Pakistan," Razzaq told Cricinfo. "If the board invites us and says, sign a letter to say you will play for Pakistan and leave other leagues, we are ready to do it."

But in an indication of the muddle - and perhaps lack of communication between the board and ICL players - that still surrounds the question of which players will come back and just how they will do so, Razzaq said he was unaware of the board's recent amnesty statement. Instead, he questioned why the board continued to ask for a NOC (no-objection certificate) from the ICL. "This NOC the board wants has no authority, no value," he said. "The players are ready to play for Pakistan so where is the problem?

"When Yousuf left the ICL the first time, did they ask him for any NOC? When a politician changes party, does he take an NOC from his old party? I want to play and am willing to sign a letter saying so," Razzaq said.

Pakistan has been badly hit by ICL defections and though the board is keen to bring back players such as Razzaq and Yousuf, this administration has been caught between public demand for bringing them back and the hardline stance adopted by the rest of the cricket world for banning players altogether.

Though the board has communicated an amnesty, officials still anticipate problems with the contracts players have signed with the ICL and implications from reneging on them. The contracts, says the PCB's legal cell, are one-sided and make it difficult for players to just up and leave. Not so, says Razzaq. "They are not like that at all. If a legal case has to happen it has to, but if our availability is there, it shouldn't be an issue."

Razzaq last played an ODI for Pakistan in May 2007 and the last of his 46 Tests in December 2006.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo