The Pakistan Cricket Board has warned contracted players against turning out for the Indian Cricket League (ICL) and said if they did, they would be putting their future appearances for Pakistan at risk. Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the board, was responding to reports in several local newspapers that up to seven active, centrally-contracted Pakistan players had been approached by the ICL.
"If someone decides personally, we cannot stop them. But if the ICL is not approved by the ICC, then it could have a negative impact," Ashraf said. "If any current player does join, he will not play for Pakistan."
Ashraf said the board was unaware of any approaches but stressed that the new central contracts the players are set to sign included clauses which prevented them from taking part in such leagues without the permission of the board.
"There are clauses such that allow the board to stop players from playing county cricket for example. Umar Gul and Mohammad Asif were not given permission to play for counties this year though some others were. Even for commercial work they have to take permission. I hope every Pakistani player would put national interest above anything else."
Ashraf played down the impact of the ICL, claiming it wasn't "a big issue". He echoed BCCI president Sharad Pawar's comments that only players who had retired or were about to retire would be interested in the league.
"It is not ICC-approved and until it is, no cricket board will support it. Our policy is based on our own interests and we have to see what is good for Pakistan cricket. We have to manage our teams and resources; with so much cricket, so many injuries how can we support this?
"Hypothetically, if the ICC approves it we can re-look at our policy as well. As of now, we cannot allow our assets, our resources to play for this."
The only player who has confirmed being approached is Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former captain, who has retired from ODIs, faces an uncertain Test future and is no longer contracted to the board. This, Ashraf said, was no issue with the board. "It is a personal decision for past players and we have nothing to do with it at all."