ICL: Indian Cricket League


Players threatening to pull out of inaugural Twenty20 World Cup?

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With the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup less than a month away, a storm may be brewing within the Pakistan cricket set-up.

Sources told this correspondent on Wednesday that some of the country’s leading players including Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik are threatening to pull out of the T20 World Cup to protest against what they describe as “rude behaviour” of a top Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official.

The players’ threat comes at a time when a few of their teammates are seriously considering to sign up for the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) in spite of a clear warning from the PCB which says that any player opting for the ICL will never play for Pakistan again.

According to the sources, the relations between some of the leading players and Zakir Khan, PCB’s Director of Cricket Operations, worsened on Wednesday following an incident involving Shoaib Malik.

Sources said that Zakir had an argument with Malik over an appeal filed by fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar against a fine imposed on him by the PCB for leaving the national training camp in Karachi earlier this month without informing the team management.

Shoaib, who was slapped with a fine of Rs 300,000, filed an appeal against the punishment saying that he had left the camp after informing the captain.

Sources claim that Malik was left fuming after getting a dressing down from Zakir and later talked to Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi and several other leading players to discuss the issue.

Sources pointed out that several other players, especially Shoaib, already have their grievances against Zakir, a former Test cricketer. Shoaib Akhtar had recently alleged that Zakir misbehaved with his family members.

Sources said that the players agreed to lodge a protest against Zakir and may even write a letter to President Pervez Musharraf, the Board’s chief patron, over the issue.

They are also planning to inform the PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf that in future the Board should carry out all dealings with the players through Shafqat Naghmi, PCB’s Chief Operating Officer.

“Some of the players are unwilling to deal with Zakir any more. Their strained relation with the PCB Director is the flash point for the conflict,” said a source.

Meanwhile, the PCB has denied any friction between the players and the Board officials saying that things are going smooth ahead of the September 11-24 Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.

A PCB spokesman said that the players are completely united and are looking forward to giving their best in the T20 World Cup.

“We have talked to Shoaib Malik after hearing speculations about a so-called rift with the Board and he says such reports are baseless,” said the spokesman adding that Malik has assured the PCB officials that he and fellow teammates are fully committed to national duty.

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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