Mohammad Yousuf, the Pakistan middle-order batsman, has joined the Indian Premier League (IPL), which is organised by the Indian board, a week after cancelling his contract with the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL).
"Yousuf has signed a contract with the IPL," Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, told the News, a Pakistani daily. Eight Sri Lankan cricketers, including Muttiah Muralitharan and Mahela Jayawardene, have already signed on with the IPL.
Yousuf had backed out of the first Test in the ongoing series against South Africa citing lack of match fitness, a decision which fuelled speculation that he might still play in the ICL. Ashraf denied this categorically, stating, "There's no way Yousuf is going to play in the ICL. Anybody saying that he will play in the ICL to avoid financial losses must know that the IPL will pay him handsomely."
The IPL is scheduled to be launched in April 2008 and will feature eight franchises participating in a 56-game season. The top four teams will then face off in the semi-finals, with the winners contesting the championship match.