Yousuf to finally sign for ICL

Mohammad Yousuf is all set to sign a fresh contract with the ICL after being assured by legal advisers that the IPL has a very weak case against him.

updated: November 05, 2008 10:45 IST
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Mohammad Yousuf's flip-flop with the Indian Cricket League (ICL) on Wednesday culminated with the Pakistani run-machine re-joining the rebel league after fighting them in the court.

"There was some misunderstanding and I was misguided as well. I was under the impression that ICL authorities would not allow me to play for the national team. But they are actually ready to release me whenever I'm on national duty and that's why I'm back," said the right-hander, who joins the Lahore Badshah squad in the ICL.

Yousuf had joined ICL last year before Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) persuaded him to dump the rebel league and promised a place in the BCCI-backed Indian Premier League (IPL).

Unfortunately for him, no IPL franchise bid for him in the landmark players' auction and Yousuf's crisis only compounded as the Essel group-bankrolled ICL authorities moved to the court against him for breaching the contract.

ICL Business Head Himanshu Mody said everything stood settled and Yousuf would make his ICL debut day after on Thursday.

"There was some misunderstanding and he was misguided by certain quarters. Whatever court cases we had against each other, we've settled all," Mody told reporters.

Mody, who took most of the questions meant for the Pakistani batsman, also dismissed notions that Yousuf might face legal action from the IPL authorities.

"As far as we are concerned, there was no agreement with him and no money changed hands. So actually there is no ground for any legal action from them, even though you never really know.

"Anyway, we will stand by Yousuf and defend him all along," Mody said.

Yousuf's decision to join the rebel league virtually drops curtain on his international career, even though the batsman said both he and ICL authorities would love to see him continue playing for Pakistan.

"See, I want to continue playing for Pakistan and the ICL authorities also have no problem with that. The ball is now in PCB court, whether they want me to play or not," said Yousuf, only the third Pakistani batsman to score 6000-plus Test runs.

ICL Chairman Kapil Dev reiterated that the league would be more than happy to release players for national duty.

"At ICL, we never stopped anyone from playing for the country. We've told all that if they get call from their national team, they should not hesitate to leave ICL. Serve the country first and then ICL," Kapil said.

Meanwhile, neither Kapil nor Mody seemed optimistic about their application to the International Cricket Council (ICC) seeking recognition.

ICC subsequently asked BCCI to get into touch with the rebel league and submit a report.

"We did have a meeting with BCCI but nothing came out of that. We are working on certain guidelines of the ICC. BCCI is supposed to submit its report to the ICC and we should know about it by next week. But I don't think it's going to be more than a three-line report," said a sarcastic Mody.

The ICL official, however, believes with more and more players from smaller countries turning 'rebel', ICC would soon feel the heat.

"ICC is basically a conglomeration of 10 Test playing countries besides some associate members. Now look what the smaller, weaker board are getting out of it. They stand to lose their players and somewhere, this would put pressure on the ICC," Mody said.

Kapil, however, was not ready to accept that ICL has wrecked teams like New Zealand and Bangladesh by luring in key players. "See, we are not holding back players. All ICL players are free to play for their national teams," he said.

Taking a dig at the BCCI, Kapil said, "Certain people believe in monopoly. If media industry can have 100 channels, why cannot we have 100 leagues?

"It's like education and we open new schools, people should be happy. We are creating more jobs for players, groundsmen, officials, broadcast crew. We are not playing spoilsport."

Asked about the recent sacking of Chris Cairns and Dinesh Mongia on "disciplinary ground", Kapil refused to reveal details and said, "When time is ripe, we'll share everything with you."

On Lara's absence from the second edition of the Twenty20 league, Kapil said, "You cannot force an injured cricketer to play. He had a shoulder problem in the first year itself and we received doctor's report which advised him not to play."

ICL also announced that this year's World Series, starting November 22 at Ahmedabad, would see four teams -India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and a Rest of the World XI - vying for a prize money of Rs 2.74 crore.