ECB Investigates Usman Khan's Pakistan Declaration for Contract Breach

ECB Investigates Usman Khan’s Pakistan Declaration for Contract Breach

The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is investigating whether Usman Khan’s decision to declare his intention to play for Pakistan constitutes a breach of his contract with the UAE board. The ECB is reviewing the case to assess potential breaches of contract with the board, as well as with white-ball leagues in the UAE where Khan has played as a local player, including the ILT20 and the T10.

The outcome of the review, which ECB sources say will be finalized in the next fortnight, could have significant ramifications for Khan. He could face a ban from league cricket in the UAE, depriving him of the most lucrative cricket he has played in his career. If a breach of contract is found, it could also affect his work permit, under which he has been living in the UAE to complete the residency requirement to qualify for international cricket for the UAE. Khan still has 14 months to go before meeting this criteria.

Khan believes he has not breached any contract, claiming that his contract includes an exit clause with a 30-day notice period. He is reportedly resigned to whatever sanction the ECB imposes, but the allure of playing for Pakistan was too strong to resist when the PCB approached him after the PSL.

The PCB asked Khan if he still wished to play for Pakistan, and he responded affirmatively. On Monday, he was named in the Pakistan camp that is currently training with the Pakistan military in a PCB initiative to boost player fitness. He joined the camp on Sunday evening, and the PCB is reportedly looking to fast-track him into the Pakistan side ahead of a five-match T20I series against New Zealand next month.

In an interview with ESPNcricinfo on the eve of the PSL final, Khan downplayed his chances of playing for Pakistan, emphasizing the ease of obtaining NOCs to play in leagues around the world as a UAE player and the advantages of being considered a local player in the UAE’s limited-overs leagues. However, events have moved swiftly since then.

As Khan has not yet played international cricket for either nation, a tug of war has broken out for a player who is at the peak of his prowess. The ECB’s decision to announce an immediate review indicates their unwillingness to let Khan be poached by the PCB.

For Khan, the decision comes down to the attraction of playing in major tournaments like the T20 World Cup in June, which he appears to be a shoo-in for with Pakistan, versus the lucrative nature of being a freelance T20 specialist affiliated with the UAE. While he appears to have chosen the former for now, much may depend on the outcome of the ECB’s review.

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