"The ICL headquarter in Mumbai has been flooded with calls from leading Pakistani cricketers who are willing to join the breakaway league"
- Former Pakistan Captain Inzamam Ul Haq who led the Lahore Badshahs in the ICL Edelweiss 20s Challenge and is leading the ICL Pakistanis in the ICL 20s World Series.
Moin Khan, who is coaching the teams captained by Inzamam, is also the ICL agent for Pakistan. He gets a neat commission from the ICL for every Pakistani player he signs on and has been instrumental in getting together an international looking Pakistan side for the league.
The presence of big names like Inzamam have led a number of Pakistani cricketers to jump ship. Ignorance on part of the PCB is another factor leading players like Imran Nazir, Imran Farhat, Taufeeq Umar, Mohammad Sami joining the ICL bandwagon.
You can't blame the cricketers - for apart from being ignored for national duty, they earn more from the ICL than from playing domestic cricket and maybe even earn more than their IPL counterparts.
The PCB here failed on several accounts.
- They failed to provide the 'rebel' cricketers with enough confidence that they still have a future in Pakistan.
- They failed to increase pay packages for domestic cricketers. Or at least for those who had represented Pakistan or were on the fringes.
- They failed to negotiate IPL packages for these cricketers. The Badshahs were a hit in India so theres no reason why the BCCI would have ignored these cricketers, which have proved to be big crowd pullers.
Where does all this leave Pakistan cricket?
Not in very good shape unfortunately.
The domestic competitions this year, despite having the first choice internationals, lacked subtance due to 18 of the countries' top cricketers playing in the ICL.
If another dozen or 2 dozen cricketers join the ICL it would leave the domestic structure in tatters with only 2nd and 3rd grade cricketers participating in it. Or rather only those whom the ICL are not interested in.
So what should the PCB do about this?
Its quite simple honestly.
Let the cricketers earn their livelihood by playing in the ICL and allow them to play domestic cricket in Pakistan. Its not that these cricketers don't want to play for their regional teams or departments - they do, the PCB has banned them.
Imran Farhat and Taufeeq Umar have a case filed with the High Court to overturn the bans. Abdul Razzak has filed one as well.
The sooner the PCB realises that the ban is unfair, and its only going to hurt them, the better.
But then if the bans are overturned the PCB will come into the bad books of the BCCI. They can't afford to do that.
Someone then needs to knock some sense into the BCCI. Who can do that? The ICC? CA?
All the national cricket boards need to come together and stand up to the BCCI. They need to let the BCCI know that they are at a loss since they are not getting a share of IPL revenues and at the same time they are losing cricketers to the ICL because of their support to the BCCI.
I hope that sanity prevails and the boards don't go for a cut in IPL revenues as opposed to having their domestic cricketers back.