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Old November 5, 2008, 08:53 AM
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Pakistan ban Yousuf for joining rebel league

KARACHI, Nov 5 (bdnews24.com/Reuters) - Senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf has been banned from playing for Pakistan after joining the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL), officials said on Wednesday.

"(While) he is contracted to the ICL our policy is clear he can't play for or in Pakistan, just like the other players who joined the league," Zakir Khan, director of cricket operations for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told the media in Lahore.

Yousuf, 34, surprised the PCB by abruptly leaving for India to join the unofficial Twenty20 league after being named on Monday in a squad to play three one-dayers against West Indies in Abu Dhabi next week.

"I know I can't play for Pakistan," Yousuf told a news conference in New Delhi on Wednesday, before the ban was announced. "I want to play, but the decision is up to them (PCB). Whatever, my performance shows I can play all forms of cricket."

Pakistan's premier batsman has played 79 tests, scoring 6,770 runs at a superb average of 55.49, with 23 centuries.

Khan said the board had banned Yousuf from playing for the national team and in any tournament in Pakistan that was organised or approved by the board. It had also cancelled his central contract.

"There will be no exception made for Yousuf to the board's policy on the ICL which will remain the same until it is changed by the ICC (International Cricket Council)," he added.

The PCB, like the other member boards of the ICC, does not recognise the new league which is bankrolled by one of India's largest media firms.

Despite the board's strong line, 18 players from Pakistan have signed contracts with the ICL, including former captains Inzamam-ul-Haq and Moin Khan and top players Abdul Razzak, Saqlain Mushtaq, Rana Naved, Imran Nazir and Mohammad Sami.

Khan said Yousuf would be replaced in the squad to go to Abu Dhabi for the games on Nov. 12, 14 and 16, most probably by young batsman Khalid Latif.

ICL organisers had filed a legal case for breach of contract after Yousuf, who signed up last year, tried to switch to the official Indian Premier League.

ICL officials said they were now withdrawing the case.

"I made a mistake so I have come back," Yousuf said on Wednesday. "I didn't talk to the PCB chairman."

Yousuf will play for the Lahore Badshahs team led by Inzamam in the ongoing ICL competition.
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