Afridi says no to BBL after getting PCB clearance
Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan allrounder, has said he will not play for Sydney Thunder despite being given permission by the PCB to take part in Australia's Big Bash League. Afridi said he wanted to play in Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 tournament instead and that clashes with Australia's Twenty20 competition.
"I have ended my contract in the Big Bash League, because I want to play in the national event to improve my form and justify my selection in the team," Afridi told AFP.
The Pakistan board had earlier granted Saeed Ajmal, Umar Akmal and Afridi permission to play a few games at this season's Big Bash, on the request of Cricket Australia. Ajmal and Akmal will miss the last round of Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 tournament and will return in time for the conditioning camp in Lahore ahead of the India tour.
The PCB had earlier denied the players permission to play this BBL, to ensure their participation in the local tournament. Akmal is signed with Sydney Sixers and Ajmal with Adelaide Strikers for the season, while Afridi was set to play for Sydney Thunder, having transferred from Melbourne Renegades.
"We have reconsidered our decision, on the request of Cricket Australia, as the players had already signed their contract," a PCB spokesman told ESPNcricinfo. "They will now leave at the tail end of [Pakistan's] T20 tournament, which runs from December 2 to 10, and will return when our conditioning camp starts."
As per the arrangement, the players will leave for the BBL at the end of the group stages of Pakistan's T20 competition; these end on December 7, and the camp for which they must return begins on December 12. The BBL begins on December 7, and each of the three concerned franchises have one game scheduled between the 7th and 12th.
1200 GMT This story has been updated after Shahid Afridi said he would not play in the BBL
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent