The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), on Friday (August 11), instructed its centrally contracted players, who are currently plying their trades in the Caribbean Premier League and English domestic tournament, to cut short their stints owing to the late finalisation and rescheduling of the ICC World XI series to be played mid-September.
The cricket board has been obliged to schedule its National T20 Cup to start end August and finish before the World series so that the Men in Green can leave for UAE to play Sri Lanka from September 24. As a result, the PCB has been forced to call back the players.
“The centrally contracted players were given permission for participation in the CPL and English county season subject to recall if the World XI series took place mid-September, they are now being recalled owing to the changes in schedule brought about due to the change in the original World XI tour of Pakistan plan,” PCB stated in a media release.
Earlier this year, the International Cricket Council (ICC), in its annual meeting, had announced its plans of sending a World XI side to Pakistan for a three-match T20 series. It is seen as a big step towards resuming international cricket in Pakistan where barring Zimbabwe in 2015, no top Test team had toured since 2009 when there was an attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team bus in Lahore.
Initially, the series was planned to end in the last week of September but constituency elections on September 17 and the bilateral series against Sri Lanka has compelled the board to change the plans.
“The series has been brought forward to mid-September instead of last week of 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 National Coach Mickey Arthur time for training the team before the series starts with Sri Lanka on September 24,” the release added.
The players have been asked by the board to report to head coach Micky Arthur for a fitness test at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) on August 22. It will be followed by participation in the national T20 tournament and preparatory camp under the supervision of Pakistan team management for the World XI series in Lahore.