In a bid to prepare for the upcoming seventh edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), scheduked to begin in Karachi from January 27, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has directed all the national players currently participating in the ongoing Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia to return home immediately.
The PCB has asked its players – Muhammad Hasnain, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan – to return back home immediately ahead of the PSL 7.
In a statement, the BBL’s frnachise Brisbane Heat franchise said they were disappointed as their opener, Zaman won’t play in the remaining matches.
“Unfortunately the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed it had rescinded its permission for Fakhar to play our remaining games, along with all Pakistan players currently involved in the BBL, and summoned him to return immediately to prepare for the Pakistan Super League,” Heat said in a statement on Sunday.
“We are disappointed that he won’t be able to play for us and he is disappointed he won’t have the opportunity to get some more games in for us. He asked us to thank the fans for their support and wish the team all the best for the remaining three games,” the statement added.
Notably, Zaman was roped in by the Heat on December 31 last year. He however, featued in just one game in the ongoing BBL season due to Covid-19-related travel restrictions.
On the other hand, Rauf tweeted that he was leaving Melbourne Stars with two matches remaining.
“A great cricketing experience with @starsBBL for #BBL11 comes to an end as I have to go back to fulfil my national http://committment.It was short but a learned & wonderful experience with some thrilling & amazing games of cricket. Always love to be here! All the best #TeamGreen,” Rauf tweeted.
The PCB had recently said that the PSL 7 would be held as per original schedule in two phases at Karachi and Lahore.
As per reports, the Pakistan board has also written to the PSL franchises to ask its Pakistani players to return home for the PSL preparations.
Meanwhile with Pakistan continuing its fight against the fifth Covid-19 wave, authorities and organisers looking over the upcoming PSL 7 had earlier reportedly decided the protocols for the T20 tournament.
As per reports, it will be mandatory for people associated with the league to pass at least three days in quarantine, and players will enter quarantine from January 20. Meanwhile, a 10-day isolation will be mandatory for a person who tests positive for the deadly virus.
Significantly, after the abrupt postponement of the West Indies tour of Pakistan due to the emergence of Covid-19 cases inside the secure bio-bubble, the PCB is extra cautious for the upcoming PSL season.
In December 2021, the Covid-19 outbreak in the West Indies camp had led to the postponement of the ODI series between touring West Indies and hosts Pakistan. The ODI series will now be played in June 2022.
Notably, the upcoming PSL season will be staged in two phases with the first one to be held in Karachi while the second and last phase will be held in Lahore. Each phase will consist of 15 matches each.
Following an opening ceremony, defending champions Multan Sultans will take on hosts and 2020 champions Karachi Kings at the National Stadium in Karachi, which will begin at 7pm PKT.
Later, 2019 champions Quetta Gladiators will face 2017 winners Peshawar Zalmi on the following day.