What’s the story?
In an unexpected turn of events, the Pakistan Cricket Board has asked 13 of its cricketers to return home from their overseas domestic tenures in England and the West Indies. In a recent interaction with the media, a PCB official explained the rationale behind the decision.
"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. 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”.
He also mentioned the role the Punjab government played in rescheduling the ICC World XI series before the elections. "The series has been brought forward to mid-September because the Punjab government wants it to be held before the NA120 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 Mickey Arthur time for training his team before the series against Sri Lanka starts on September 24."- the PCB added
In case you didn’t know…
A total of 10 cricketers are playing in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League - Wahab Riaz, Imad Wasim, Shoaib Malik, Shadab Khan, Mohammed Hafeez, Hasan Ali, Babar Azam, Sohail Tanvir, Kamran Akmal and Mohammed Sami.
Mohammed Amir, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Fakhar Zaman are the cricketers from the English domestic circuit who have been called back.
The heart of the matter
The PCB had previously given no-objection certificates to 13 cricketers for playing in the CPL, the Specsavers County Championship and the NatWest T20 blast, but political interference influenced the decision. The World XI team was previously scheduled to visit in the final week of September.
However, elections in Pakistan are scheduled for the same period and hence the tournament has been preponed by a couple of weeks so that it doesn’t clash with the elections to be held on September 17.
Losing key players won’t be a good sign for the domestic teams in England and the West Indies. The likes of Wahab Riaz and Mohammed Amir are bowling exceptionally well for Barbados Tridents and Essex respectively.
It will be interesting to find out whom they call upon as replacements for these Pakistani internationals.
Every team makes its own preparations and select players according for the events. Midway through a tournament, it can be a tumultuous task for teams to find appropriate replacements who can fill in the void, created by the released cricketers.
The decision, although unfortunate for the cricketers and the teams, but it was the need of the hour, factoring in the security of the cricketers.