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ICL saga rumbles on

Pakistan pair provide bone of contention

Mushtaq: free to ply his trade for Sussex

The Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) are to complain to their English counterparts (ECB) over the over the participation of Pakistan pair Mushtaq Ahmed and Naved-ul-Hasan in the 2008 county season.

"We have an understanding with the other countries' boards that they can't allow players who are associated with the ICL to be allowed to play at any level, regardless of the reason the player has a contract with his board or not."

BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah

Quotes of the week

Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary, has confirmed they intend to lodge a complaint with the ECB after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) issued No Objection Certificates (NOC) for the duo to fulfil county contracts, despite the fact they have both played in the 'rebel' Indian Cricket League Twenty 20 competition.

The BCCI believes they have 'an understanding' with the major nations that players who take part in the unsanctioned ICL - a direct rival to the BCCI's Indian Premier League - will not be allowed to ply their trade in first-class cricket.

Naved and Mushtaq have both been granted NOCs by the PCB allowing them to fulfil their respective contracts with Yorkshire and Sussex under the ECB's stated policy.

"We have an understanding with the other countries' boards that they can't allow players who are associated with the ICL to be allowed to play at any level, regardless of the reason the player has a contract with his board or not," Shah told cricinfo.com.

"If the news is true that the two players have been given NOCs by the PCB then we will take up the issue with the ECB since the two counties - Sussex and Yorkshire - come under the jurisdiction of the England board."

Policy

The PCB confirmed on Saturday that they will not prevent players without central contracts - as is the case with both Naved and Mushtaq - from playing abroad.

"Our board's policy on the ICL remains as it has always been and these players cannot play in Pakistan," said PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi.

"But the board also felt that there is no legal or moral reason in stopping someone from playing cricket in another country. That is subject to their laws.

"So, on this basis, we have sent an NOC for Naved and Mushtaq, which maybe wasn't as well-worded as planned, but the intention was made clear."

Champions League

A further complication is that the BCCI have already warned any teams with links to the ICL will not be allowed to play in the potentially lucrative 'Champions League' style club Twenty20 event scheduled for October.

The event - which has yet to be finalised - is for the top domestic 20-over sides from India, England, Australia and South Africa and will offer £1million to the winners.

Sussex chief executive Gus MacKay explained the club intend to play Mushtaq irrespective of the consequences.

"We have got the NOC and we have clearance from the ECB that he can play," he said.

"It all now depends on what happens in world cricket. Our main priority has been to get Mushy registered.

"There has been so much speculation about this champions' competition and we are none the wiser.

"We cannot afford to wait a month and then have to find an overseas player; there has been an indication this tournament will take place but we have seen no tournament arrangements."