Pakistan players conundrum in the UAE, CSA leagues

Pakistan players conundrum in the UAE, CSA leagues

With the franchises of the UAE and South Africa leagues authorised to sign players of their choice outside of the auction/draft, the big question that is emerging from the arrangements is if any Pakistan player has been signed. Or will they ever be?

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has confirmed that it is yet to issue NOCs to its players for the overseas leagues, Big Bash League (BBL) included, but it is still a matter of conjecture how many Pakistan players will eventually make it to the final squads of the two new leagues.

“The PCB is yet to consider the matter of issuing NOCs to the players. At present, it is reviewing requests for releasing player names for BBL and ILT20 (UAE League) Drafts. Issuing NOCs is the second phase of the process,” the PCB said in a statement on Wednesday (August 3) adding, “The PCB is yet to receive any request from the CSA for its league.”

The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), the organisers of the ILT20, has given the go-ahead to its six franchises to sign players of their choices without impinging on the financial slabs and overall salary cap ($ 2 million). The ECB will conduct a draft or an AUDRA (a hybrid version of auction and draft combine) after the signing exercises are complete.

But with five of the six franchises owned by the Indian investors, there is always this question if any of them will prefer Pakistan players. Officials of at least three of those teams have revealed to this website that they are not looking at the Pakistan option. The general perception is that the franchise owned by the Glazer family (of Manchester United fame) will be the only management to be interested in the Pakistan players. The franchise, with Tom Moody as its cricket director, may have even tried to rope in Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi. But it has not materialised, so far.

The PCB statement pointed to that. Without taking names, the PCB said, “In July, the PCB had received requests for two centrally contracted players for the ILT20. On 26 July, the PCB had informed the Player Agent that the NOC approval was subject to the two players’ workload and participation in the international series against New Zealand and the West Indies, which overlap with ILT20.”

Meanwhile, the Emirates board has ruled that each team can have a squad of 18 players with 12 foreigners, four local UAE players and two Associate Nation players. In the playing XI, there has to be at least two UAE players.

The situation is more complex in the CSA League. The Cricket South Africa (CSA) officials say they are open to the Pakistan players’ participation but with all six franchises belonging to the owners of the IPL teams, it is a bit iffy. The CSA has signed over 30 foreign players, including from England, West Indies and Sri Lanka. There is one player from New Zealand also, but no Pakistan player signed yet. When contacted, a League official did not rule out the possibility, going forward.

The CSA has said that the franchises can sign four players with an overriding condition that one of them has to be a South African. The remaining three can be foreigners but not more than two from the same country. The league has capped the squad size at 17 with 10 locals and seven foreigners. Like in the IPL, up to four foreigners can be in playing XI with the salary cap being $ 2 million. There may be an auction in September, when one will know how many from Pakistan will have been considered. (Agencies)

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