PCB 'allows' cricketers to play BPL till February 8

Exemption does not extend to those scheduled to play in the Quetta exhibition match on February 5

Sohail Imran
Mohammad Rizwan (right) and Naseem Shah are among Pakistan players featuring in BPL — BCB/File
Mohammad Rizwan (right) and Naseem Shah are among Pakistan players featuring in BPL — BCB/File

Pakistan players, who had previously been told to ensure their return to Pakistan by February 2, have been allowed to participate in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) till February 8, sources said Tuesday.

However, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) decision is only applicable to those players who are not part of the upcoming exhibition match in Quetta between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators.

Players who are set to participate in the exhibition match on February 5 have been asked to return home by February 2.

Earlier, all the players had been advised by the PCB to return to the country by February 2, eleven days before the PSL 8 is to start in Multan. The PCB had said that it has recalled the players who would be playing in PSL 8 due to the request of the franchises who urged for their return.

It is worth mentioning here that top players of the national T20 side including Mohammad Rizwan, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Naseem Shah, along with others, are participating in BPL 2023.

Earlier, PCB chairman Najam Sethi instructed all players that their participation in the exhibition match scheduled in Quetta is mandatory.

In no ambiguous terms, Sethi said “It's our contractual right that whenever we want our players, we can call them back anytime from anywhere. This happens all around the world. I know they want to earn money by completing their contract, but we need them to fulfil our national interest.”

It must be noted that the opening ceremony of PSL 8 will be held in Multan on February 13 prior to the tournament opener between 2021 winners Multan Sultans and defending champions Lahore Qalandars; closing ceremony and final will be played on March 19 in Lahore, which will also host play-offs.

Lahore Qalandars will attempt to become the first side to win back-to-back titles; meanwhile Islamabad United will aim to become the most successful side by lifting the trophy thrice.

Rawalpindi will stage 11 fixtures, Karachi and Lahore will host nine matches each, whereas Multan will have five home games.