PCB hardens stand on ICL players

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Lahore, Jan 26 (UNI) Taking a tough stance on players who took part in the inaugural Indian Cricket League (ICL), the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) stated that the players will be excluded from the national squad and banned from playing first-class cricket.

''The Governing Board has made it crystal clear that any player who features in the ICL will not be allowed to play for Pakistan or appear in first-class cricket in the country,'' PCB Chairman Nasim Akhtar said.

''Our policy on the ICL issue is in line with that of the other cricket boards (of Test playing nations),'' he added.

''Any player who chooses the ICL will not even play first-class cricket at home.'' The decision by the PCB will bar former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, Imran Farhat, Taufeeq Umar, Azhar Mahmood and Shabbir Ahmed, who had joined the ICL, from domestic competions like the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy or the Pentangular Cup.

Ashraf, who said ICL recruiting agents are looking for talented young players all over the country, can cause severe damage to Pakistan cricket.

''We believe that our players induction in the ICL can have dangerous repercussions on Pakistan cricket,'' he said.

''We cannot afford to be lenient on this matter because there is national interest involved.'' Some of the banned players have been threatening to take legal action and challenge the decision. However, Ashraf said that the PCB can consider the option of pardoning them only if they disassociate themselves from the ICL.

''We can think about it provided the players quit the ICL,'' he said, adding that Pakistani players can profit from the Pakistan Premier League that would be launched within a year.

''I can assure you that the players will make a lot of money from our official league,'' Ashraf said.

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