Mumbai: Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq and South African all-rounder Lance Klusener have signed to play in an unofficial Indian Twenty20 league to be launched in October, organisers said on Monday.
The Pakistani trio of batsman Mohammad Yousuf, all-rounder Abdul Razzaq and batsman Imran Farhat plus retired South Africa spinner Nicky Boje have also joined the league.
The Indian Cricket League (ICL), promoted by the Essel group which owns the country’s largest listed media firm Zee Telefilms, also named several former India players, including Dinesh Mongia, and domestic cricketers.
Former India skipper Kapil Dev and Himanshu Mody, ICL’s business head, said about 50 players had signed up so far.
The boards of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have threatened to ban players if they join the league, which was launched in May and plans to stage its inaugural tournament with a mix of foreign and domestic cricketers.
“Our focus is to entertain the people of our country who sometimes only see test (international) cricket, they don’t see any other cricket,” Kapil Dev said.
“I think these boys, they have the ability and have the talent.”
Inzamam, who played 119 Tests and 378 one-day internationals, joins former West Indies test skipper Brian Lara, in signing up.
The 37-year-old Inzamam stepped down as captain and retired from one-day internationals in March after his team was eliminated in the first round of the World Cup in the Caribbean.
Inzamam, who is to make his English county championship debut for Yorkshire later this month, hopes to continue playing test cricket but the Pakistan selectors are unlikely to pick him.
“Any player who goes to play in the Indian league will not be considered for Pakistan selection again,” said Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman Ehsan Malik.
“We are a bit surprised at the situation that has developed today. But our stance will not change, nor do we have any intention of softening it.
“Losing your players is a setback. But our policy is clear since the ICL is not recognized by the International Cricket Council (ICC) we do not recognise it as well.”
Pakistan all-rounder Razzaq announced his retirement from international cricket on Monday, saying he was disappointed at being dropped from the squad for next month’s Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.
Mohammad Yousuf, Pakistan’s batting mainstay, was not included for the South Africa event while Farhat asked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to terminate his central contract and became the first Pakistan player to join the ICL.