Super Eight T20 missing several stars
The Super Eight T20, Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 tournament in which the country's top eight teams face-off, will begin on June 24 without several star players, including Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar and Abdul Razzaq.
The tournament is designed to test the premium Twenty20 talent in the country, with teams having to qualify for it by finishing in the top half of Pakistan's comprehensive domestic 20-over competition, the 13-team Faysal Bank T20 Cup.
Akhtar, who has represented Islamabad Leopards in previous seasons, retired from all forms of the game at the end of this year's World Cup, while Afridi and Razzaq are just two of several Pakistan players who have chosen to play with English counties instead.
Afridi has secured his NOC after a much-publicised dispute with the PCB and will debut for Hampshire the Friends Life t20 on Thursday, while Razzaq is with Leceistershire. Offspinner Saeed Ajmal and fast bowler Wahab Riaz will also miss the domestic tournament due to county commitments with Worcestershire and Kent. Other prominent names missing from the series include the banned trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.
Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal will play the domestic league for Lahore Lions after being denied permission to take part in the Bangladesh domestic league. The PCB had reportedly told Akmal that his being a centrally contracted player prevented him from playing abroad during the domestic season.
Players like Imran Farhat, Danish Kaneria, Faisal Iqbal and Hasan Raza will also miss the tournament, as they are not eligible to play, having represented teams that did not finish in the top eight in the Faysal Bank T-20 Cup last season.
Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Sami will captain sides in the competition.
Faisalabad Wolves will host Multan Tigers in the tournament opener on Friday.