‘Priority is Pakistan’: Players told to put country before franchise leagues | Cricket News – Times of India
NEW DELHI: Team director Mohammad Hafeez emphasised that Pakistan’s contracted players should prioritise national team duty over franchise cricket. This statement came in response to fast bowler Haris Rauf‘s decision to opt out of Pakistan’s Test tour of Australia.
Rauf, known for his prowess in white-ball cricket and with limited experience in Test matches (having played only one Test and nine first-class matches), declined the offer to participate in the three-test series in Australia.
Instead, the 30-year-old has been awaiting approval from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to join the Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League.
“All centrally contracted and domestic contracted players, for all of them, the priority is Pakistan,” former captain Hafeez told reporters on Tuesday.
“The point of offering it (contract) to the 20-25 players … is to make sure they are available to play,” he said.
“Now there is a parallel option in the form of leagues and we experienced this in the Asia Cup and World Cup.
“There was talk of fatigue, or players were getting injured because their workloads were too much, or not performing as they should.”
Hafeez is part of a new team management that was put in place after Pakistan failed to make the semi-finals of this year’s 50-overs World Cup in India.
Hafeez said the board would factor in a players’ workload ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup before giving him a ‘No Objection Certificate'(NOC) to take part in one of the growing number of lucrative franchise leagues around the world.
“Moving towards the T20 World Cup, the NOC policy will be based on what Pakistan needs,” he explained.
“If Pakistan need fit players, we need to make sure of their workloads. The maximum energy and availability has to be to Pakistan.
“If there is an opportunity around that, that they can play (in leagues), that will be definitely considered.”
(With Reuters Inputs)