Karachi, Nov 3 (IANS) Pakistan's seasoned batsman Mohammad Yousuf is facing realistic fears of getting a life ban after joining the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL), a senior Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said Monday.
Yousuf, 34, dropped a bombshell when he quietly flew out of Lahore for New Delhi to feature in the rebel ICL, fully aware that he will suffer the same fate as the other league recruits who have been banned by Pakistan.
The PCB official confirmed that the Board's policy as far as the ICL is concerned remains the same and after a fair inquiry, Yousuf will be banned from playing for or in Pakistan.
The PCB has adopted a rigid policy against the ICL that has attracted some of the leading Pakistani cricketers including former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, senior all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, pacers Mohammad Sami and Rana Naved-ul-Hassan and batsmen Imran Farhat and Imran Nazir apart from several others.
Yousuf had joined the ICL last year but was pursued to give up his plans to play in the league by former PCB boss Nasim Ashraf, who instead got him (Yousuf) a contract with the official Indian Premier League (IPL). However, Yousuf failed to attract any franchisee at a players' auction held in India.
Later, Yousuf was left seething again when Pakistan overlooked him while making their Twenty20 plans. He threatened to join the ICL but decided against doing so.
But it was revealed Monday that Pakistan's premier batsman has finally decided to take his chances. The news of his joining the ICL came just hours after Pakistan included Yousuf in its 15-man squad for a three-match One-day International series against the West Indies to be played in Abu Dhabi from Nov 12-16.
Yousuf's wife called up a senior PCB official informing him that the player has left for India to play in the ICL.
'It's a very serious matter and if could result in a life ban for Yousuf if he does play in the ICL,' said the official.
Yousuf, whose 1,788 runs in 2006 is a calendar-year record, previously signed a contract with the ICL after he was omitted from Pakistan's Twenty20 World Cup squad in September last year.
Yousuf has played 79 Tests and 269 One-day Internationals for Pakistan since making his debut in 1998.
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