Mohammad Yousuf is heading to Lancashire © AFP
 
Lancashire have taken advantage of Mohammad Yousuf's continuing ineligibility for the Indian Premier League to sign him as a replacement for Brad Hodge who is, ironically, unavailable because of a last-minute deal to play in the IPL.

Yousuf was expected to hear on Wednesday whether he was allowed to join the IPL after appearing in the unauthorised Indian Cricket League, but the ICL has postponed his hearing indefinitely, leaving him with little option but to play county cricket, though for a much smaller purse.

"The Pakistan Cricket Board has granted permission for him to play for Lancashire," a spokesperson for the county confirmed to Cricinfo. "We are delighted to have one of the best batsmen coming to play for us."

Lancashire fans will not mind the circumstances in which Yousuf, who has 16,000 international runs and a Test average of 55.49, arrives at Old Trafford. He will cover for Hodge for the next five weeks, subject to a work permit and registration, making his county debut on Sunday in a one-dayer against Durham. .

Mike Watkinson, Lancashire's cricket manager, said he hoped for "an immediate impact" from Yousuf. "The decision to allow Brad to compete in the IPL happened quite suddenly and, as I said at the time, the club would only replace him if a top quality player was available," Watkinson said. "We are delighted to have captured one of the world's leading batsmen and look forward to him making an immediate impact for the county".

Yousuf said: "I've always wanted to play county cricket, and to get the opportunity with a club as big as Lancashire is fantastic. Old Trafford is somewhere I've enjoyed playing at during my international career and I'm determined to make a significant contribution to Lancashire's season."