Wed, Feb 04, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Pakistan court suspends ban on rebel ICL players

AFP , KARACHI, PAKISTAN

A court in Pakistan on Monday suspended a ban imposed by the country? cricket board barring players from domestic matches after they agreed to join the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL).

Approximately 19 Pakistani players featured in the ICL, bankrolled by the country? largest 衫edia group, Zee Television, but not recognized by the Board of Control for Cricket in India or the International Cricket Council (ICC).

In 2007, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) barred the players, who included former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and star batsman Mohammad Yousuf, from playing at all levels in the country.

The ICL players challenged the ban in the provincial Sindh high court last month. Their lawyer Zahid Fakhruddin Ibrahim said justice had been done.

?udge Amir Hani Muslim has suspended the PCB ban imposed on the ICL players and they are now free to play,?Ibrahim said.

Asked if the players could now play for Pakistan, Ibrahim said: ?he ban was only on domestic cricket, it? up to the PCB to select a player for an international match or not and that cannot be challenged.?br />

The players lined up for the Lahore Badshahs in the ICL season and were a major attraction, winning the Twenty20 league last year.

Their coach Moin Khan, a former Pakistan captain, said the suspension of the ban was good for Pakistani cricket.

?ome of the ICL players can still play for Pakistan and when they play in domestic cricket, youngsters will learn from them,?Khan said.

?he ban had hurt the players financially as well as cricket-wise, so it? a great decision,?Khan said.

The court has summoned PCB officials to its next hearing next Tuesday to hear their explanation for the ban.

The PCB has a strict policy of banning all players who have joined the ICL.

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