Farhat joins rebel cricket league

Discarded Test opener Imran Farhat has become the first Pakistani player to sign up for the rebel ICL series.
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Updated on Aug 20, 2007 04:43 PM IST
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Reuters | By HT Correspondent, Karachi

Discarded test opener Imran Farhat has become the first Pakistani player to sign up for the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) series.

"Yes I have formally signed a contract with the organisers of the Indian league but I would still love to play for my country," the 25-year-old Farhat told Reuters on Monday.

"I am not happy at the way the selectors have treated me. They have not made selections on merit and I had no option but to think of my future," added Farhat, who has played 27 tests for his country.

Four other players Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood have also been linked with the ICL, a Twenty20 team tournament due to take place in October-November.

Earlier on Monday, Razzaq announced his retirement from international cricket in protest over the Pakistan Cricket Board's indifferent attitude towards senior players.

Meanwhile, an ICL source who wished to remain anonymous told Reuters in Mumbai that former Pakistan captain Inzamam was all set to join the lucrative league.

"There are some formalities remaining," the source said.

"More internationals players will also be signing up."

The 37-year-old 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.

However, Inzamam, who is to make his English country championship debut for Yorkshire later this month, hopes to continue playing test cricket though the Pakistan Cricket Board has threatened to ban players who align with ICL.

A veteran of 119 Tests and 378 one-day internationals, Inzamam is the second biggest draw for ICL after former West Indies captain Brian Lara, who is coming out of retirement to play in the unofficial league.

The league was launched in May by India's Essel Group, which controls the country's biggest listed media firm Zee Telefilms.

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