DUBAI: Islamabad United coach Dean Jones urged his players to not get distracted by the debate over the possible absence of overseas players in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final in Lahore. Jones says his players can decide for themselves, but wants them to focus on qualifying, in order to be in a position to make the decision. “It is up to the players as to what they want to do, but our first priority is to get there first, then we will sit down and work with the players from then on,” Jones said. “I understand where people are coming from. Do you want to help Pakistan out? Other people’s priority is with their family, and I respect that as well,” he added. He further said, “It is up to each player, but they can’t do any more than what they are doing when it comes to security. I admire the Pakistan board for what they have done so far.” Former Pakistan bowler Wasim Akram, who was part of Islamabad’s coaching team last year, said overseas players who do travel for the final will be given “hero status” in Pakistan. Ramiz Raja, another former Pakistan captain who is a PSL ambassador, said they would make “a priceless contribution to Pakistan cricket” if they travelled. Islamabad enjoyed their first tune-up before their title defence begins against Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai tomorrow, as they thrashed the UAE in a 16-over match at the ICC Academy. Dwayne Smith, the only one of Islamabad’s overseas players who played, scored a half century in their score of 128 runs for three wickets. The UAE ended their 16 overs on 74 for six. “We’ve been trying to create an environment where players know their roles and people feel comfortable,” Jones said. “Last year, we didn’t start off well. We didn’t know our roles, there was a bit of anxiety in our team because of the expectations, and it took a while to settle down. Now they seem a lot more relaxed with where we are at,” he added.