Yousuf joins ICL, gets banned by PCB

Mohammad Yousuf, the Pakistan batsman, has formally signed up for the ICL, ending months of uncertainty surrounding his move. The announcement brought a swift response from the Pakistan Cricket Board, which banned him from "any type of cricket" in Pakistan and terminated his central contract.

"I have decided to sign for ICL," Yousuf - who will play for Lahore Badshahs - said in New Delhi. "There was a misunderstanding with the ICL. I was misguided and confused and not able to take a decision earlier."

He also expressed a wish to continue representing the Pakistan national team. "See, I want to continue playing for Pakistan and the ICL authorities also have no problem with that," he said. He was included in a 15-man squad to take on West Indies in three ODIs later this month, and the PCB will name a replacement, most likely to be Karachi batsman Khalid Latif.

However, the PCB's decision will have put paid to that. "Yousuf will remain banned from playing any type of cricket in Pakistan as he has joined the unrecognised Indian Cricket League," Zakir Khan, PCB's director of operations, told Cricinfo. "His central contract has also been cancelled."

Yousuf had initially signed up with the league in September 2007, in protest at being axed from Pakistan's squad for the Twenty20 World Cup 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 as Yousuf had signed up with them, he was ineligible to play for any other league.

A stay order was passed against Yousuf's participation in the IPL, though an appeal was later filed by the PCB on Yousuf's behalf in the Bombay High Court.

ICL officials said their legal wrangle with Yousuf has been sorted out and they will file a joint statement in court. "We have resolved matters mutually," Himanshu Mody, ICL's business head, said.

That isn't necessarily the end of Yousuf's legal headaches. The Pakistan board, said Zakir, is looking into recouping "the legal costs we incurred in fighting Yousuf's case earlier." IPL officials, meanwhile, said they will look at legal options against Yousuf's latest move because they had already paid a significant sum of money as advance to Yousuf. But Mody said that Yousuf's association with the IPL would not be an issue because "there is no contract and no payment made".