The upcoming Masters Cricket League (MCL) has resulted in numerous Pakistan Test and international players formally announcing their retirements from international cricket on Wednesday after the PCB declined to issue them No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) to play in the lucrative league in Dubai from January 28th.
The MCL, which will see many icons and legends of the game face off once again, required cricketers to get NOCs from their respective boards to participate in the tournament.
Former Pakistan players Rana Naved, Humayun Farhat and Muhammad Khalil met PCB's COO Subhan Ahmad and tendered their retirements in writing to him to pave the way for them to play in the Master Champions League. A few hours later, Test batsman Yasir Hameed also announced his formal retirement.
The situation surfaced after several Pakistani players including Mohammad Yousuf, Abdul Razzaq, Imran Farhat, Taufiq Umar, Rana, Khalil, Humayun and Khalil approached the board for NOCs to take part in the MCL, but were declined.
The board said in a statement that it would issue NOCs only to those cricketers who have announced and confirmed their permanent resignation and retirement from international cricket on behalf of Pakistan in writing to PCB.
"Such cricketers will, however, remain eligible to play in domestic cricket as per rules," the PCB said.
MCL seen as a competition for PSL: PCB
The PCB also confessed that it considered the MCL as a competition for its inaugural Pakistan Super League (PSL) also scheduled to be held in the UAE from February 4.
The release which said: “It may be noted that the Masters Champions League (MCL) comprising retired cricketers is scheduled to take place in UAE next month, during the same dates and at the same venues as the Pakistan Super League (PSL). For this reason, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has formulated a Policy to govern the participation of Pakistani Players in the MCL,” admitted to seeing MCL as competition for PSL.
"Keeping in view this direct clash in dates and venues and the resulting consequence that any Pakistani players featuring in the MCL pose a direct competition to the PSL and the PCB, as such its policy did not allow for NOCs to be issued freely to Pakistani players wishing to participate in the MCL and instead a criteria was put in place," the release said.
Yasir said he was perplexed by the situation as when he signed the contract with the MCL organizers he was only told to get an NOC and there was no condition he must be retired.
"Anyway since the PCB has not signed us for the PSL we can't let go of these MCL contracts," he added.
Mohammad Yousuf miffed at board’s policy
Former captain Mohammad Yousuf called the board's policy as stubborn and said that instead of facilitating the players, it was only making life difficult for them.
"Everyone knows we are retired now and yet we can't go and earn some money from playing in a league of former stars," Yousuf said.
"If they want us to announce our retirements we will do it but we can't waste an opportunity to earn good money at this stage."
Except Yousuf and Razzaq all the other players are still active in the domestic circuit.