PSL hit by pullouts of overseas cricketers

Karachi, Feb 13 (PTI) Several high-profile international cricketers have pulled out of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) due to the overlapping of dates with other franchise-based tournaments and many cricket boards denying permission to their players to compete in domestic T20 competitions.

The PSL begins in Lahore on February 17 and all the six franchises have been hit hard with several players opting for the Bangladesh Premier League, ILT20 and SA20 leagues.

PSL side Multan Sultans have lost several players they had initially signed up for the upcoming season, with England pace bowler Reece Topley being the latest to pull out due to an injury.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) also said it had not issued a no-objection certificate (NOC) to Topley to play in the PSL.

Some other boards are also having second thoughts about giving no-objection certificates for PSL.

Multan will also be without Pakistan fast bowler Ehsanullah, who has failed to recover from an elbow surgery he suffered last year after the PSL.

Peshawar Zalmi have also lost a big name in Lungi Ngidi of South Africa, while Quetta Gladiators will be without Sri Lanka’s Wanandu Hasaranga.

West Indies cricketers Shai Hope, Matthew Forde and Akeal Hosein, South Africa’s Tabraiz Shamshi and Rassie van Der Dussen, England’s James Vince and Afghanistan’s Noor Ahmed and Naveen ul Haq, among others, will also skip the entire tournament.

A PSL franchise owner has asked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to revisit the tournament window, as it is not possible to get big players when three leagues are happening on after the other.

“The SA20 ended recently and the ILT20 concludes on the day the PSL begins, so it is getting difficult to sign big players now,” he said on condition of anonymity.

He also pointed out that January-February is a busy season for international cricket series. Sri Lanka are playing a series against Afghanistan, South Africa are in the middle of a two-Test series against New Zealand while West Indies are playing a series against Australia.

“There is an acute need to change the PSL window, else it will lose its charm if we don’t get big overseas names,” he added.