Former Pakistan players retire en-masse to play MCL

Several former Pakistan international players have formally announced their retirements from international cricket on Wednesday after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) declined to issue them NOCs to play in the lucrative Masters Champions League (MCL) in Dubai from January 28th.

Yasir Hameed's last international assignment was the Test series against England in 2010.   -  AP

Rana Naved-ul-Hasan has played 74 One-Day Internationals and nine Tests for Pakistan.   -  Reuters

Several former Pakistan international players have formally announced their retirements from international cricket on Wednesday after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) declined to issue them NOCs to play in the lucrative Masters Champions League (MCL) in Dubai from January 28th. Former Pakistan players Rana Naved, Humayun Farhat and Mohammad Khalil met with the PCB’s COO Subhan Ahmad and submitted their retirements in writing to him to pave the way for them to play in the MCL.

An hour later, Test batsman Yasir Hameed also announced his formal retirement.

The situation arose after several Pakistani players including Muhammad Yousuf, Abdul Razzaq, Imran Farhat, Taufiq Umar, Rana, Khalil, Humayun and Khalil approached the board for NOCs to take part in the MCL. The board said in a statement that it will issue NOCs only to those cricketers who have announced and confirmed their irrevocable 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 a competitor of PSL

The PCB than in its release also admitted 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 admission was clear in 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 PSL. For this reason, the PCB has formulated a Policy to govern the participation of Pakistani Players in the MCL.

“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 mystified by the situation since when he signed the contract with the MCL organisers 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.

Former captain Mohammad Yousuf was adamant that the board’s policy, instead of facilitating the players, 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.” With the exception of Yousuf and Razzaq, all the other players are still active on the domestic circuit.