Yousuf set to sign central contract

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Mohammad Yousuf is expected to sign his central contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board over the next few days, though uncertainty remains over the future of Abdul Razzaq, another player yet to sign the contract.

The two were surprisingly omitted from Pakistan's Twenty20 World Championship squad and coupled with the delays in signing their contracts have stirred speculation about the future of both players.

It had been suggested that the two were refusing to sign up as protest at their exclusion and even that both may take up lucrative offers with the Indian Cricket League (ICL) instead. Yousuf, however, clarified to Cricinfo that the delay on his part had only been because he received the contract late.

"I only saw the contract yesterday [Thursday]. My lawyer is going through it now and I see no problem in signing it once the lawyer has seen it, which should take a day or two,"

Yousuf said.

The PCB had set a deadline for August 10 as the last day for all players to sign their contracts but an official said that the deadline would be extended for Yousuf.

"He had been away for the last few days and there was no communication but now he has informed us that his lawyer is going over the contract. There should not be a problem in giving him a couple of extra days to go over it and inform us of his decision,"

the official said.

The situation for Razzaq is not so straightforward. Despite repeated attempts, the board has not been able to contact him to get an answer. Additionally, Razzaq's comments on a TV show recently, where he attacked the board and the selectors for his exclusion, have strained relations.

"We have heard nothing from Razzaq at all. Today is officially the last day for signing up but in cases, as with Yousuf, we can extend it. But that is only if there is some communication,"

said the official.

When asked what that meant for Razzaq's future, the official said,

"In light of his comments on a TV show recently and his refusal to get in touch, despite repeated attempts from our side, it could be a tough situation. You can draw your own conclusions about his future from that."

However, in what appeared to be a late climbdown, the board issued a statement saying the four players had been given an extended deadline - until August 15 - to sign their contracts.

"Abdul Razzaq and Mohammad Yousuf received the contracts only a day before due to their unavailability. PCB has extended the date for signing the contracts for these four players {including Younis and Kaneria} in order to give them enough time to review before signing. They can now sign their contracts by August 15, 2007."

Razzaq, unavailable for comment, was said to be one of seven Pakistan players approached by the ICL; if he doesn't sign up with Pakistan, it will only increase speculation that he may sign up with the ICL.

Younis Khan and Danish Kaneria are the only others who haven't officially signed the contracts but they have informed the board that they have accepted the terms and conditions. Both are currently playing county cricket in England and are expected to sign the contracts soon.

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Will Pakistan Premier League gain success just like Indian Premier League ?