LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has recalled 13 players - 10 centrally contracted and three not contracted - to the country owing to their national and domestic commitments. The PCB on Saturday revoked the No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) of the players and sent them a notice to report at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore on August 22 for fitness and medical tests under head coach Mickey Arthur’s supervision. Out of the 13 players, 10 are participating in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL) while the other three are fulfilling their commitments in the English county. The PCB had originally given permission to 10 players to play the entire Caribbean Premier League - which began on August 4 and runs until September 9. Three cricketers without central contracts - Kamran Akmal, Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Sami - have also been asked to return after they were selected by Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Lahore Whites for the National Twenty20 Cup.
“The centrally contracted players were given permission to participate in the CPL and English county season subject to recall if the World XI series took place in mid-September,” the PCB said in a statement. “So they are being recalled owing to the changes in the schedule brought about due to the change in the original plan of the World XI’s tour of Pakistan.” The same notices went out to Mohammad Amir, who was to stay with Essex until September, Sarfraz Ahmed, who was to play five games for Yorkshire in the Natwest T20 Blast, and Fakhar Zaman, who was set to join Somerset until the end of the season.
The PCB has found itself in a fix with the World XI’s visit earlier scheduled for late September, but due to the by-elections in NA-120 on September 17 due to the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, the dates had to be moved to earlier September. As of now, Pakistan’s domestic National T20 tournament end on September 10 with the final in Faisalabad, after which they are to host Sri Lanka in the UAE from September 25; thus, the window available for the World XI visit sits between September 10 and 17.
Meanwhile, the World XI visit is also subject to security clearance, but newly elected chairman Najam Sethi believes the two parties - Law and Order Committee of Punjab and the PCB - are in agreement over the new dates and awaiting the final approval of province’s chief minister.
“Owing to the late finalisation and rescheduling of the ICC World XI series to be played mid-September, the PCB has been obliged to schedule its National T20 Cup to start near the end of August and finish before the World XI series so that its national team can leave for UAE to play Sri Lanka starting September 24,” the PCB explained. “This has compelled the PCB to call back centrally contracted players in contention for selection for the World XI series next month from their ongoing Caribbean Premier League and English county stints.”
The PCB further added: “The series has been brought forward to mid-September because the Punjab government wants it to be held before the NA-120 election on September 17. It can’t be held after September 17 because there is no time to both hold the series and also give coach Arthur time for training his team before the series against Sri Lanka starts on September 24. The players have been asked to report for a pre-series fitness testing/training camp, as planned by the national team management and the National T20 tournament that starts in Multan on August 25.”
Pakistan players called back: From the CPL: Imad Wasim, Shoaib Malik, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Wahab Riaz, Babar Azam, Mohammad Sami, Sohail Tanvir, Kamran Akmal.
From England: Sarfraz Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Amir.
Published in Daily Times, August 13th 2017.