LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has slapped a ban on its players from playing in any cricket league in the United Arab Emirates other than Pakistan Super League (PSL).
The decision was taken at a meeting of the PSL Governing Council at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore on Tuesday afternoon.
Pakistani cricket stadiums became barren after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore on March 3, 2009 left six Lankan cricketers injured and six law-enforcing agencies’ men and two civilians dead. International cricket teams refused to play in Pakistan after the incident.
In those crucial hours, the UAE supported Pakistan and provided her grounds that became the home ground of Pakistani cricketers and they played series against South Africa, Australia, England and Sri Lanka.
The PSL was also started in the UAE as the international cricketers had refused to play in Pakistan. Three seasons of the PSL have been played there so far.
Now the UAE has announced its own cricket league on her grounds and the PCB is not happy about it.
“The Governing Council has expressed its concerns over a newly announced T20 league taking place in the UAE. It was decided that the PCB will not allow any contracted players to take part in any T20 league taking place in the UAE other than PSL,” reads an official communiqué of the PSL and PCB released after the meeting.
The PSL also decided to increase the salary cap of PSL squads as well as bringing more PSL matches to Pakistan. It was decided that at least eight matches of the next league session of the league to be played in 2019 will be played in Pakistan. All the franchise owners endorsed the decisions and reposed full trust on the PSL chairman, Najam Sethi.
Independent sport analysts, however, do not appreciate the decision of banning Pakistani cricketers from playing in the UAE cricket leagues.
“It is a bad decision. The Pakistani players get experience by playing with the international fellows. Several national team players have come from the league. More leagues mean more experience and also money for cricketers,” Farakh Ata Butt, a senior sports writer and analyst, told Arab News.
Some have different opinions and support the PCB decision: “This is a good step ahead of a long and challenging international season,” Syed Sarim Raza, a cricket analyst, told Arab News. “Pakistan are set to visit South Africa for a full tour at the start of 2019 followed by the 50-over World Cup to be held later in the English summer. PCB has adopted this strategy to save players from unnecessary fatigue and keep them fit for key international fixtures.”