Pakistan cricket has received a big jolt with 10 players, including fast bowler Mohammad Sami, reportedly joining the rebel Indian Cricket League.
Apart from Sami, spinners Saqlain Mushtaq and Mushtaq Ahmed are among those who have signed their contracts but an announcement will come from the ICL soon.
The decision by the 10 players to join the ICL despite the Pakistan Cricket Board imposing a domestic as well as international ban on the six players who had earlier joined the Essel group-backed venture last year is sure to cause worry within the establishment.
The authorities had hoped the domestic ban would serve as a deterrent to players approached by the ICL.
Sources said the ICL has signed the 10 players as its plans to field a team from Pakistan in its second tournament in March-April.
The other players said to have joined forces with the ICL include Imran Nazir, Hasan Raza, Naved Latif, Humayun Farhat, Riaz Afridi, and Arshad Khan who is currently working as a member of the national junior selection committee.
Sami toured India recently while Nazir and Naved have recently played for Pakistan. Arshad toured India in 2005.
They will join Inzamam-ul-Haq, Imran Farhat, Abdul Razzaq, Shabbir Ahmed, Taufiq Umar and Azhar Mahmood in the ICL.
Former captain Moin Khan, who is an ICL representative in Pakistan, said he could not confirm or deny anything.
"Our policy is simple if any new player is signed the announcement will come from the headquarters we are not supposed to make any announcements," Moin said.
But he did confirm that the ICL had been in touch with some players for the last few weeks.
The PCB had banned the six players who played in the inaugural edition of the ICL last December and they are planning to appeal in court against the domestic ban.
The domestic ban affected Farhat, Umar, Shabbir and Razzaq who were active on the first class scene.
"We have to wait and see if these reports are true. But there is no doubt that we are facing a real threat from the ICL but if anything, I don't think our policy on players joining the ICL is going to change," a PCB official said.
One of the players, who did not wish to be named, said the decision for him to join the ICL was not difficult.
"The selectors and Board have not been fair with me although I have performed consistently in domestic cricket.
"Secondly, I see no future for myself in the national team and thirdly, the money offered by ICL is very good and an insurance for the future," he stated.
He also believed that, sooner or later, the PCB and other ICC member boards would have to soften their stance on the ICL.