ICL: Indian Cricket League

ICL players believe cricket will bind Indo-Pak together


Pakistan’s leading cricketers especially the ones who defected to the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL) are confident that cricket will certainly bring back Pakistan and India closer like it did in the past.

This week’s shocking terrorist attacks in Mumbai and India’s decision to point the finger of blame at Pakistan has raised tensions between the two neighbours, who are both passionate about their cricket.

“Cricket brought Pakistan and India closer in the past and I’m sure this great game will once again help defuse any tensions between the two countries,” said premier Pakistani batsman Mohammad Yousuf, who defected to the rebel ICL earlier this month and later blamed a shabby treatment he had received from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and national team captain Shoaib Malik for the switch.

Yousuf, 34, said that India should tour Pakistan for the January-February series which should be played at all costs to make it clear to terrorists the two countries will not be cowed by such dastardly acts.

“The Indian team must play in Pakistan or it will only encourage the terrorist elements,” Yousuf told reporters here at the Jinnah Terminal after arriving here from Ahmedabad following the cancellation of the ICL World Series in the wake of the Mumbai killings.

Yousuf said that he and his teammates were deeply disturbed by what happened in Mumbai.

Former Pakistan captain Moin Khan, coach of ICL Pakistani — a team that consisted of several Pakistani Test cricketers — and his teammates like Mohammad Sami, Imran Farhat, Imran Nazir also arrived in Karachi.

Moin said that the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, was bad news for international cricket but hoped that both Pakistan and India will join hands to land a counterpunch on terrorism.

“Cricket has always played its role in normalising relations between the two countries and I feel it is now all the more necessary for India to tour Pakistan and vice versa,” stressed Moin.

Another party of ICL ‘rebels’ landed in Lahore on Saturday night with former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq at helm.

Speaking on a different issue, Inzamam said that the PCB should consider national players, who were some of the success stories of the ICL season that came to a halt because of the Mumbai killings.

“Players like Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Abdul Razzaq and Imran Nazir were very impressive in the ICL matches and they and some other players are good enough to play for Pakistan,” said Inzamam, who led Lahore Badshahs to a title-winning triumph in the ICL event earlier this month.

Inzamam said that the PCB should reconsider its rigid stance towards the ICL players.

However, the PCB which has banned all of its ICL players is unlikely to soften its stance in the near future. Just the other day, the Board chief Ijaz Butt told reporters here that the ICL is an unrecognised league and PCB will not bring back the players who are associated with it.

Earlier on Friday night, Pakistan team players Kamran Akmal and Sohail Tanvir also urged India to tour Pakistan as per schedule. Speaking to reporters, the duo which was in Mumbai when the tragic drama began, said that it’s very important for the two countries to continue exchanging cricket tours and not play in the hands of terrorists.

Source:Cricket News

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