The PCB has once again indicated it is keen on bringing back ICL players into the fold, with chairman Ijaz Butt urging the ICC to resolve the current policy of most national boards excluding those involved with the unsanctioned league from playing international or domestic cricket run officially.
"We don't want our players to be banned because they have contracts with the ICL," Butt was quoted by PTI. "But unfortunately we can't do anything unless the ICC changes its stance on this issue."
The Pakistan board, under its previous administration, had announced a ban in December 2007 on six players who took part in the ICL's inaugural tournament, and since then 13 others had joined the league, including batsman Mohammad Yousuf. Among those banned are former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood and Mohammad Sami. Surprisingly, the ban does not apply to coaches and officials, with Moin Khan guiding Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in the domestic circuit.
"The PCB has not directly banned the players, We have banned them under the ICC rules," Butt said. "The rules state that no tournament can be held without the home board's permission and, in the case of the ICL, the Indian board [BCCI] does not recognise it as it runs its own league, the IPL."
The BCCI had been instructed by the ICC to conduct talks with the ICL - which had approached the ICC for recognition - but Butt said he was not aware of any progress on the matter, which would be discussed at the ICC executive board meeting in Perth on January 31. Butt felt it won't be long before the official stance on the ICL is changed, as the ICL had a strong legal case.
"I don't think this ban will be there for long. Because the ICL is back to talking about taking legal action, if necessary, if the ICC or Indian board does not recognise it. And let me make it clear here the ICC lawyers have indicated ICL has a strong legal case."
When he took over in October, Butt had talked of a possible merger between the ICL and the BCCI-run IPL, though the Indian board is yet to confirm any such development. The new PCB administration has been vocal over the stance on ICL players, with Javed Miandad, former Pakistan captain and now the board's director-general, questioning the rationale of the bans.