With cricket boards placing several restrictions on where the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) can train, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has shown some leniency by allowing one of its ICL recruits, fast bowler Shabbir Ahmed, to train at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore.
All 16 of Pakistan's ICL-contracted players have been banned from playing domestic cricket, thereby ruling themselves out of national selection. But apparently no such ban exists on their using board facilities.
"There was never any ban on Shabbir Ahmed to practice. He is only banned from representing Pakistan in Tests and ODIs and from first-class cricket," a senior board official said.
However, Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB's chief operating officer, reiterated that the board wasn't going to soften its stance on ICL players, saying that the ban stands.
"Any player who has represented Pakistan can practice here but that does not mean we are thinking about changing our policy on the ICL," Naghmi said. "It remains the same. When the ICC recognises it we will also adopt a softer line."
Shabbir had a long session at the nets, preparing for the next season of the ICL. "I am preparing for the start of the new ICL season this year and so far no one has told me not to practice here," Shabbir said. "Right now I am here to train and get tips from Aaqib Javed and Geoff Lawson who are at the academy."