PCB yet to decide on Afridi and Yousuf's domestic participation
The PCB is deliberating whether batsman Mohammad Yousuf and allrounder Shahid Afridi can play in the President's Trophy, a domestic first-class tournament. Both players have expressed a desire to play the tournament, in a bid to work their way back into top form, but were not registered in the teams' probable lists for the tournament.
Afridi, who is struggling for form, is looking to play for Habib Bank Limited to prepare for the limited-overs series against India next month. Yousuf, who hasn't played any cricket since June last year due to personal reasons, was keen to make a comeback to the national team and was asked by the selectors to play domestic cricket first. Port Qasim Authority, one of the domestic teams, was intent on recruiting Yousuf and, on October 30, had applied for him to be registered with them.
However, the deadline for the teams' preliminary probable list was September 24, the board said, and both players were not on those lists. The PCB's cricket committee or the PCB chairman, though, can still provide special permission to ensure their participation.
"We have received applications from both of them," the PCB spokesman, Nadeem Sarwar, told ESPNcricinfo. "The cricket committee has considered their application and will take a decision soon, before the next round [of the President's Trophy] starts."
Yousuf, a veteran of 90 Tests, lamented the delay. "On one hand, the PCB tells me to prove my form and fitness on the domestic circuit, but on the other, they do not allow me to do so," he said. "[In recent domestic tournaments] I have not been representing any team. This time around, Port Qasim Authority offered me a slot that I readily accepted."
Had the PCB sanctioned Yousuf's participation soon after his application was filed, he would have played the tournament from the fifth round onwards. The sixth round is currently underway, and thereafter there are three of nine rounds remaining, apart from the final. Afridi is looking to play the final two rounds of the tournament.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent