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Mohammad Yousuf joins the ICL

Pakistani selectors sought a replacement for Mohammad Yousuf on Monday after the star batsman joined an Indian Cricket League hours after being named in the One-Day series squad against the West Indies.

The 34-year-old batsman was set to stage a comeback for Pakistan in next week's three matches against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi after missing a Twenty20 event in Canada last month due to visa problems.

His name featured in the 15-man squad announced on Monday, but shortly afterwards it was announced that he had signed for the Indian Cricket League (ICL).

"Once we get written confirmation from the PCB we will name his replacement but it is likely that Khalid Latif will take his place," chief selector Wasim Jaffar said.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has a strict policy of banning all players who have joined the unrecognised ICL, which is backed by India's largest media group, Zee television.

"Yousuf's wife has conveyed to us that he has left for India and would be playing in the Indian Cricket League but we are waiting for facts and figures before taking any action against him," PCB director of operations Zakir Khan said.

About 15 Pakistani players, including former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, joined the league last year and were barred from playing international and national cricket by the PCB.

Khan said Yousuf had jeopardised his career. "Yousuf has also signed for the Indian Premier League (IPL) which is recognised by the International Cricket Council and so it's something we cannot say much on, but yes, our policy remains the same on ICL," said Khan. "But we would wait to hear from Yousuf himself as he is under PCB contract and once he confirms this to us then only we can decide what action we can take against him."

Yousuf, whose 1,788 runs in 2006 is a calendar-year record, previously signed a contract with the ICL after he was omitted from Pakistan's Twenty20 World Cup squad in September last year.

But the PCB later convinced him to tear up the contract and instead sign with the IPL, leading to legal proceedings.

Yousuf has played 79 Tests and 269 One-Day Internationals for Pakistan since making his debut in 1998. Yousuf converted to Islam from Roman Catholicism in 2005, a move he claimed helped him become a better batsman.

In the squad for the West Indies games, troubled fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was retained after erasing doubts about his form and fitness, while top batsman Younus Khan will join the trip from his club team South Australia.

Pakistan play West Indies on November 12, 14 and 16 in Abu Dhabi in the first matches under new coach Intikhab Alam after Geoff Lawson was sacked last month.

Fast bowlers Rao Iftikhar and Abdur Rauf also return after missing the Canada trip. The series is in Abu Dhabi after West Indies refused to tour Pakistan over security fears.

source - cricketnext.com
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