Pakistan news January 27, 2011

Pakistan players unlikely to get overdue payments from ICL

The Pakistan players who took part in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) face a bleak future in trying to secure payments of US$2 million still owed to them. Officials who ran the league, which wasn't officially recognised by the BCCI or the ICC, have refused to respond to Moin Khan, the former Pakistan captain, who coached the popular Lahore Badshahs side in the league and represented the players as well.

The league, which attracted a huge number of international players who were subsequently banned by their home boards for playing in an unsanctioned league, actually pre-dated the IPL. It was city-based, but ownership patterns were different; the entire league was owned and run by Essel Pvt Ltd, which owns the Zee group of companies. But it soon ran into financial difficulties and organised its last season in 2008-09, Lahore beating Hyderabad Heroes in a best-of-three final.

Since then, the 19 Pakistan players who played in the league, including former Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf and allrounder Abdul Razzaq, have served a legal notice to league officials but have not heard from them. "None of the officials are picking up the phone now, we've been trying them for months," Moin told ESPNcricinfo. "We've been paid three-fourth of the entire payment we were owed but they still owe us for last season. Not just the players, but support staff and other officials; we're owed US$2.2 million."

It isn't just players from Pakistan who are owed money. Tim May, chief executive FICA (the world players' body), has been in contact with a number of players from around the world about outstanding payments. "It's not just us," Moin said. "Millions of dollars are owed to players from Australia, New Zealand, West Indies. We've been in constant contact with Tim May but we've been told now that a legal process could be very lengthy, expensive and not guarantee that we get our money."

Additionally, strained political and diplomatic ties between India and Pakistan make the prospect of cross-border legal action even more complicated and prolonged. "We don't know what to do anymore," Moin said. "We were told so many things by Himanshu Mody and Subhash Chandra and now there is nothing from them."

Former Test fast bowler Shabbir Ahmed also expressed his frustration with the way affairs had panned out. "I don't regret my decision [in joining the ICL]," he told the Express Tribune. "When ICL organisers negotiated with us, their offers were huge. But it's been two years and they still haven't cleared our dues."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo