County news January 31, 2013

Ajmal Shahzad interested in Pakistan Super League


Ajmal Shahzad, who only two years ago was regarded as a integral part of England's fast-bowling future, is the most notable English county player seriously considering whether to sign up for the planned Pakistan Super League.

Pakistan are so anxious to attract overseas players that they have offered life insurance of $2 million (£1.25m) as well as 24-hour personal security for a tournament which would offer competitive cricket immediately ahead of the English county season.

That has been enough for Shahzad to toy with the possibility of making himself available, along with three other county players with Pakistani antecedents: Lancashire's Kabir Ali, Mooen Ali of Worcestershire and Kadeer Ali, who is currently a free agent since being released by Gloucestershire in 2010.

That they would eventually accept offers, though, is far from certain. Players' associations including the international body, FICA, and their England equivalent, the PCA, have warned players that they should not visit Pakistan on security grounds and there is a general acceptance that overseas players will be immensely difficult to attract.

But players with a Pakistan background, and of Muslim religion, are naturally more willing to consider any offers than most, privately feeling that their safety, although impossible to guarantee, might be less compromised.

Shahzad, who is forging a new career with Nottinghamshire after sharing a troubled 2012 season between Yorkshire and Lancashire, said: "It's still early doors but if the PSL is set up professionally and becomes official and the security is top notch then I would think about it. My first commitment is to Notts but the fixtures don't clash with the English season."

Nottinghamshire have taken a firm line against the involvement of their players in the IPL because it clashes with the England season, but their director of cricket, Mick Newell, emphasised that there would be no automatic objection to any overseas T20 tournament which took place in England's close season.

He counselled: "We would advise players to have full discussions with the PCA before making a decision about any overseas T20 tournament so they were fully aware of any issues, but we would not automatically block an NOC if it was requested."

Lancashire are confident that they have dissuaded Kabir from making the trip. "We haven't granted an NOC for any of our players to go forward to the PSL auction," a Lancashire statement said, giving the impression that the subject was closed.

Kabir, though, had been among the keenest to make the trip, despite an unnerving experience with terrorist violence, this time in India, more than four years ago. When attacks on Mumbai forced the suspension of India's tour of India, In November 2008, Kabir was due to have dinner at the Taj Palace, where England were also shortly due to stay, on the night of the attacks. He changed his mind at the last minute and went to the cinema and the shootings began shortly afterwards.

Worcestershire's director of cricket, Steve Rhodes, said that Mooen Ali has also not yet applied for an NOC certificate. Such applications would be premature, however, as details of the PSL have not been finalised. Mooen is believed to have more reservations about the tournament than many others under consideration.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • muhammed on February 1, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    Very please to see British born Pakistan players willing to play in Pakistan. Well done boys it is least we can do. There are also less well established players in the county circuit who should be encouraged to go to Pakistan.

  • MUHAMMAD on February 1, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    whoever love cricket in the world , well going to support cricket in pakistan in any shape, its good,

  • umair on February 1, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    folks just wait and watch !!!!! PSL gonna shock many ppl !

  • Nehal on February 1, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    Think a lot of people are missing the point here saying 'pakistan have enough players as it is to make the league work'. That may be but the ONLY reason the PCB have really organised this league is to bring back touring teams like England, SA and Australia and the only way they are going to do that is by getting foreign players to come and put other players minds at ease.

    Having said that they are going to need to attract better and more well known overseas players then the ones mentioned in the article, i mean if Ajmal Shahzad is potentially the highest profile overseas player that you are going to have in your league then you know you've got problems

  • Dummy4 on February 1, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    i think super league idea is very good and Chairman PCB should request Chief of Army staff General Ishfaq Pervez Kiani to give his support to Pakistan cricket and provide army security to super league and if it is done and anounced that PSL will be held under Pakistan Army security personels than i think foreign players might come to Pakistan

  • atlas on February 1, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    okay we will love to see you here the thing is pakistan are really really missing some international cricket thats why pakistan is going with this super leage idea cause they wanna show the world pakistan is not that bad place for cricket. So if they came here and they will play good one.

  • Amjad on February 1, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    Like I said, Pakistan doens't need players from other countries, we have a large enough pool of players having a Pakistani origin. Its difficult for teams like BD as they have one or two cricketers of quality in BD and nothing else and hence are more reliant on foreign players. PSL should be a resounding success.

  • nabeel on February 1, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    It means that PSL will only be a tournament for players of pakistan or the international players having background of pakistani origin. PCB should not risk life of any foreign player by inviting to play in PSL. They should stop all cricketing actitivities domestically until situation is improved in the country. Then the show must go on.

  • irfan on February 1, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    "Fifty players already sign contract with Psl and we are expecting more players to sigh contract" According to salman server butt Ceo of psl. So be ready for great show in march 2013 INSHAALLAH.

  • Aizi on February 1, 2013, 3:05 GMT

    Imran Tahir can be a Good option , He came to pakistan a year Ago. And Apart from Cricket , AMIR KHAN the boxer Also come here often..Security security security.. I am sick of this.. there is no problem .. problem is just jealousy of Other Cricket boards because Pakistan Got Talent here.

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