The Pakistan Cricket Board has banned players who participated in the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL) from playing in the ongoing domestic season. Six Pakistan players - Inzamam-ul-Haq, Azhar Mahmood, Abdul Razzaq, Shabbir Ahmed, Imran Farhat and Taufiq Umar - appeared in the inaugural tournament of the ICL earlier this month.
Nasim Ashraf, PCB chairman, told the players on Monday that they cannot represent Pakistan or play domestic cricket at home. "When those players signed up to play in the ICL and went to India to take part in that tournament they were fully aware of the consequences," Ashraf told the News.
"We were very clear about our policy about the ICL and they [the players] knew that they would be automatically banned from playing cricket in Pakistan if they took part in the league. We have banned the players in line with the uniform policy adopted by all the leading boards around the world," he said.
"It is a policy decision that players who play in unauthorised leagues cannot be allowed to play in any domestic competition organised by the PCB," Shafiq Ahmed, the PCB domestic cricket general manager, said. "We cannot allow violation of our rules and regulations by anyone. We don't think it is a harsh decision."
However, the players believe that the PCB's stance is harsh and some of them are threatening to take legal action against the Board.
Reacting to the ban, Farhat told Reuters, "Cricket is our bread and butter. This is a violation of our fundamental rights." He said the players would take legal action and try to obtain a stay on the ban.
On Saturday, the Indian board had stated its displeasure with Daryl Tuffey, the New Zealand fast bowler and an ICL recruit, being allowed to represent his state side Auckland in a 50-over match against the visiting Bangladesh side.