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July 13, 2008
Giving international fixtures priority, the PCB has said it won't allow its players to take part in the next IPL season if it coincides with Australia's rescheduled visit to the country next year. There are 11 Pakistan players in the IPL, including captain Shoaib Malik, vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq, and Sohail Tanvir, one of the key players in Rajasthan Royals' triumph in the inaugural season.
"We don't see any confrontation with the players over the clash of dates, the IPL is a domestic tournament," Shafqat Naghmi, the Pakistan board's chief operating officer, told PTI. "International commitments take precedence over the domestic tournaments and the IPL is no exception."
Naghmi's comments come a few days after Sri Lanka Cricket allowed its key players to feature in next year's IPL despite a clash with proposed dates of the tour to England. SLC's decision even prompted Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, to hint at the need for an IPL window in the international calendar.
"We will work strictly under a principle that has been decided at the ICC level," Naghmi said. "Obviously the home series against Australia is very important for us and nothing will take precedence over it."
Australia postponed their tour to Pakistan in March this year after several bomb attacks in the wake of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination in December 2007. Pakistan are to hold the Champions Trophy in September, subject to the ICC determining the situation is safe for the tournament to go ahead.
Besides ICC's security consultants, the Australian, England and New Zealand boards have hired an independent expert to assess the situation. Players such as Andrew Symonds have already expressed their reservations, and Cricket Australia is yet to decide on the fate of those who refuse to tour.
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