New Delhi:It's a news which could prove to be a big boost for the organisers of the Indian Cricket League and a big blow for the Pakistan Cricket Board.
As many as five Pakistani cricketers including former skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Abdul Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood and Imran Farhat have reportedly finalised deals to play in the ICL.
Inzamam-ul-Haq, who is playing County cricket in England, has become the first Pakistani player to sign an agreement with ICL - a news which was confirmed by his father Intazam-ul-Haq late Sunday night.
The cricketers however, have been restricted from making any announcements as of now.
It has also been revealed that pacers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, who had initially rejected ICL offers, have received fresh enhanced offers.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has already made it clear that they will not consider any contracted player for future selection if he plays in the Indian league.
ICL to announce teams
Meanwhile, the whole veil of secrecy over the names of the players signing deals with the Indian Cricket League is somewhat expected to lift when the organisers announce their six teams in Mumbai on Monday.
But, one thing which is quite clear now is that it's much more than just a simple clash of egos between the BCCI and the ICL.
The Kerry Packer of Indian cricket was what Zee boss Subhash Chandra came to be known as after the launch of the Indian Cricket League.
Their big signings included Kapil Dev, Brian Lara, Tony Greig and Dean Jones. Hordes of past and present domestic cricketers followed next.
Quite obviously, the organisers have much bigger plans than just hosting a Twenty20 tournament.
"This is not just club cricket, we can even host a world cup one day," said Ashish Kaul
Executive Vice President, Essel Group.
A statement which will definitely not please the men who run cricket in India. The BCCI will make its stand on ICL, and the people joining it, clear in the next few days.
They say that it's just a money making exercise, something the organisers of the league don't quite deny themselves.
"We are not missionaries, we are here to make money. We are visionaries," said Kaul.
Unfortunately for the BCCI and the the ICC, breakaway leagues are now a true headache.
West Indian businessman Allen Stanford is organising a 20/20 cup in the Caribbean next year with a total prize money of $23 million.
The West Indies cricket board after much resistance has given him permission but it's not yet clear whether international players will get permission to take part in it.