Nasim Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, has expressed satisfaction that several Pakistan cricketers have turned down lucrative offers to join the Indian Cricket League (ICL). Eight Pakistan cricketers signed six-month contracts offered by the PCB, which would prevent them from joining any professional league.
"We had faith in our players that they will not join the Indian league," Ashraf told reporters in Karachi. The PCB had already made it clear that any contracted player turning out for the ICL will not be considered for Pakistan. Seven current players were reported to have been approached by the league and Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif and Shahid Afridi have already turned down offers.
Younis Khan, the middle-order batsman, too was among those who were approached and Ashraf confirmed that he had also rejected the offer. "Younis was made the offer in England where he is playing county cricket but he told the official who contacted him that he is happy playing for his employers Habib Bank and for Pakistan."
Ashraf highlighted other factors which may have influenced the decision of the players, mainly the fact that the league is yet to be recognised by the ICC and the Indian board. Secondly, the league has attracted former players like Brian Lara and Shane Warne but no high profile current players. With the contracts being issued, Ashraf said he was confident that none of his players would compromise on representing their country.
"I was least bothered because I know my players and was sure that they would not join any league which is neither accepted by the Indian board nor by the ICC," he said. "I am pleased to know the players' sentiments and they proved they only want to play for Pakistan. The league is only signed by players who have either retired or are on the verge of retirement so we were not bothered."
Pakistan face a busy schedule in the months ahead with a home series against South Africa in October, followed by a tour of India, the dates of which would have invariably clashed with those of the ICL.