Pakistan board backs Yousuf in ICL tangle
Islamabad: The Pakistan Cricket Board will ‘work overtime’ to defend premier batsman Mohammad Yousuf in his legal battle with the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL) when the hearing begins on Wednesday.
“Yousuf doesn’t have to worry about the case because we (PCB) would fight it out on his behalf,” the Pakistan team’s media manager Ahsan Hameed Malik, who is also the board’s marketing director, told The News in Jaipur.
Yousuf, who is expected to play a major role for Pakistan in the Test series against India that gets underway in Delhi November 22, has been asked to face an arbitration hearing over his decision to pull out of the ICL.
Yousuf was one of the biggest stars roped in by the rebel ICL and struck a deal after being snubbed for the inaugural World Twenty20 event in South Africa in September.
The PCB later prevailed on Yousuf to give up the ICL plans and even got him a contract with the official Indian Premier League (IPL) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
“Yousuf’s decision to cancel the contract irked the ICL organisers, who threatened to take him to court. The other day, a legal notice was finally sent to Yousuf by India’s Essel Group, the business empire which has bankrolled the ICL,” The News said.
“We will not let him (Yousuf) set a bad example,” Ashish Kaul, executive vice-president of the Essel Group was quoted as saying on Friday.
Malik refused to comment on the ICL statement but said that the PCB will ensure that Yousuf is not troubled by any off the field development during the Test series.
“Yousuf is one of our key players and we don’t want him to get distracted by any such development.
“The Board will hire the best lawyers and will defend our player because we believe that for a cricketer national duty comes first,” he said.
Yousuf, 33, broke West Indian legend Vivian Richards’s record of most Test runs in 2006 and remains in great touch. Pakistan will be relying on him heavily in their bid to put up a strong show in the three-match Test series.