PCB makes domestic T20 participation mandatory for NOCs

Fakhar Zaman lets out a roar of frustration after Morne Morkel sniped him out in the first over AFP

The Pakistan Cricket Board has set a "precondition" for its centrally contracted players, by which they have to participate in the National T20 Cup, between November 7 and 17, before they can play in the Bangladesh Premier League and the T20 Global League in South Africa. Pakistan's domestic T20 tournament runs until November 23 and clashes with a large chunk of both overseas tournaments, but the PCB has said that the domestic tournament would "take precedence over global leagues".

There may be some more uncertainty around the availability of players for the other leagues, however, as some of the centrally contracted players may have to return to Lahore in the last week of November for a T20 series against West Indies, that is subject to clearance. 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. The West Indies T20s are part of the agreement between the PCB and Cricket West Indies as a follow-up to the World XI Series, which was held in September.

"The PCB has decided that all the centrally contracted players, who are not facing any other restriction must also participate in PCB's T20 tournament to strengthen our domestic cricket, as per international best practices," the board said in a statement. "In order to facilitate our players and also keeping in view good relationship with Bangladesh and South Africa cricket boards, NOCs would be issued to all centrally contracted players to play BPL and Global T20 leagues, subject to the condition that they must play PCB's T20 tournament from November 7 to 17, 2017."

Eight Pakistan players, included centrally contracted ones like Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Nawaz, Fakhar Zaman and Yasir Shah had been initially signed by franchises in the T20 Global League. Of these, Umar Akmal's participation has been revoked following his breach of contract, while Junaid Khan is set to participate in the BPL. The BPL, meanwhile, is set to feature more than a dozen Pakistani players. The PCB has clarified that retired and non-centrally contracted players, like Afridi, Mohammad Sami, Sohail Tanvir and Misbah-ul-Haq, can be released at the start of the National T20 Cup or according to their league commitments.

Cricket South Africa, meanwhile, will make provisions for franchises to replace players who are unavailable. If a franchise has bought an overseas player, it will likely be able to replace him with another overseas player if the original is not available.

The scheduling of the National T20 Cup has already created some uncertainty for players. In August, the board revoked the No-Objection Certificates of 13 players participating in the Caribbean Premier League and the English domestic season, asking them to return home and fulfill national and domestic commitments, including the T20 Cup. However, a few days later, PCB chairman Najam Sethi said the National T20 Cup had been postponed and the players could return to their franchise sides and counties after undergoing fitness tests. The National T20 had first been slotted for August but was pushed back to November due to the World XI Series, which marked the return of high-profile international cricket in the country.

The year's National T20 Cup will feature eight teams and will be played in Multan and Faisalabad. The PCB went ahead with the selection process in August, holding a draft ceremony. All sponsorship rights have also been sold, which means the PCB will eventually have to hold the tournament sometime this year to fulfill its obligation. The ongoing Quaid-e-Azam, Pakistan's premier first-class tournament, has a three-week break in which the National T20 Cup has been slotted.