Ajmal still a Striker, but Akmal's contract cut by Sixers
Saeed Ajmal and the Adelaide Strikers will be the chief beneficiaries of the PCB's decision to allow their players limited participation in the BBL after the Sydney Sixers terminated Umar Akmal's contract.
The Strikers had originally intended to call on Ajmal for only the first game of the tournament and then regain him for the final stages, a plan that remains possible. However the Sixers were unhappy to have Akmal's original three-game stint cut to one and are now looking elsewhere.
Jamie Cox, the director of cricket for the South Australian association, said Ajmal's re-confirmed availability was a relief after several days of frantic phone-calls trying to keep Pakistan's No. 1 spinner in the picture for the tournament.
"The arrangements work for us at the moment, they work for us better than some of the other sides because we had originally intended for Saeed to be here for the first game anyway," Cox said. "We're still working on how that works for the latter end of the tournament, but for them to reverse their decision we're very grateful.
"I know CA have been involved there, which has been great. To have him in our team albeit how brief it turned out to be will be pretty exciting. We're hoping we can free that up for the back-end of the tournament where hopefully we're well and truly alive and challenging for the trophy.
"Pakistan are at liberty to put out whatever program they like and we understand that's how it works with international players, but we're always keen to try and find whether there was an opportunity for him to reconsider and fortunately in this case they have, and we're very grateful. It'll hopefully work very well for us."
The PCB had earlier denied permission for Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Akmal to play in the Big Bash League to ensure their participation in its own local tournament. But, upon Cricket Australia's request, it reconsidered its stand and allowed them to play the initial stages of the tournament. Due to the scheduling, Akmal was found to be available for just the opening game of Sixers' campaign.
"While it would have been great to have Umar here for the start of the BBL season, the short time frame offered is not in the club's best interest and we have decided to see if a suitable replacement is available rather than continue down this path," Stuart Clark, the Sixers' general manager, was quoted as saying by AAP. "We are confident our strong roster will be able to cover the loss of Umar should we not find a suitable replacement."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here