Karachi, Mar.30 : The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said that it will not stop players of the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) from taking part in the English county season despite a directive from the International Cricket Council (ICC).
"Our policy on the ICL players is clear. They are not contracted to us nor are they eligible to play in any tournament in Pakistan. But if they go and play county or shield cricket we can't stop them," a foreign news agency quouted Shafqat Naghmi, the chief operating officer of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), as saying.
"We have no legal or moral reason to stop ICL players from playing in any event in any other country apart from Pakistan. If anyone in any other country wants to play them it is their decision," he added.
According to The News, around 16 players from Pakistan are appearing in the ICL, a Twenty20 event in its second year, at the moment.
The PCB has banned ICL players from playing domestic cricket.
The ICL is being bankrolled by India's Essel Group and the latest reaction from the PCB comes in the wake of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announcing that it will be seeking an explanation from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) about Pakistani players Mushtaq Ahmed and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan being allowed to play county cricket in 2008 after receiving no objection certificates from the PCB.
BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah was quoted by a cricket website as saying that: "We have an understanding with the other countries' boards that they can't allow players who are associated with the ICL to be allowed to play at any level, regardless of the reason the player has a contract with his board or not. If the news is true that the two players have been given NOCs by the PCB then we will take up the issue with the ECB since the two counties - Sussex and Yorkshire - come under the jurisdiction of the England board."
The ECB is legally powerless to take any action in the light of the NOCs being granted and is likely to pass the matter back to the Indian board to sort out directly with its Pakistan counterparts.
The situation is further muddied by confusion with the PCB issuing an NOC to fast bowler Naved-ul-Hasan.