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Pakistan players' BPL, Global T20 participation in doubt

Fakhar Zaman exults after reaching his century AFP

The participation of Pakistan's players in the Bangladesh Premier League and the inaugural edition of the Global T20 in South Africa is in doubt, as Pakistan's national T20 competition is scheduled to clash with those dates. With the PCB strongly indicating that the National T20 Cup would "take precedence over global leagues" around the world, the possibility of around a dozen Pakistan players being unable to fulfil global T20 commitments looks very real.

This is the second time in as many months that the scheduling of the National T20 Cup has created uncertainty. Last month, the PCB revoked the NOCs of 13 Pakistan players participating in the CPL and the English domestic circuit to participate in the National T20 Cup, then slotted to begin on August 25. The move especially frustrated the counties concerned and even led a senior member of the Pakistan team management to describe it as "a bit of a mess". However, just days later, PCB chairman Najam Sethi announced the postponement of the National T20 Cup to November, saying the recalled players had to undergo fitness tests, after which they were free to resume their engagements abroad.

The National T20 Cup is now scheduled to run from November 4-19, the entirety of which clashes with significant chunks of both the BPL and the Global T20. The BPL lasts from November 2 to December 10, while the Global T20 begins on November 3, with the final taking place on December 16. Further complicating the situation is the fact that the PCB has already gone ahead with a selection process last month with a draft ceremony. All sponsorship rights were sold, which means the PCB eventually has to hold the tournament sometime this year.

When ESPNcricinfo approached a PCB spokesperson to enquire about the potential clash, he said that players would "naturally" have to fulfil their domestic commitments. "I can say that the National T20 Cup will take precedence over other league," Amjad Hussain, director media and coordination, said.

At least seven Pakistani players were expected to take part in the Global T20, with Wahab Riaz, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Nawaz, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Anwar Ali and Imad Wasim signed by various franchises. While the player list for the BPL is not yet out, Junaid Khan and Shahid Afridi had confirmed that they would take part in Bangladesh's premier T20 competition.

"We haven't heard about anything from the Pakistan players as yet, officially or unofficially," Ismail-Haider Mallick, secretary of the BCB governing council, told ESPNcricinfo. "But if it happens then it will be a big loss for the players as BPL is one of the most competitive leagues in the world. But we are not too worried about the situation as we have a lot of foreign players who can replace missing Pakistan players."