KARACHI, Nov 15: Pakistan on Thursday refused Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Umar Akmal permission to play in Australia’s Big Bash Twenty20 competition, ordering them to prepare for next month’s tour of India instead.

The trio had all signed up to play in the Big Bash from next month, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said they must take part in a domestic Twenty20 event being used to test players ahead of the matches against arch-rivals India.

Afridi was due to play with Sydney Thunder while Saeed had signed for Adelaide Strikers and Umar for Sydney Sixers but the PCB insisted they gear up at home for the hotly anticipated India tour.

The two sides will meet for two Twenty20 matches and three one-day internationals between Dec 25 and Jan 6 – their first full series since 2007.

“Since the Big Bash was clashing with our national Twenty20 tournament we have asked the players to feature in the national event so that selectors can check their form and fitness for the selection of the squad for India,” PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf stated.

Afridi had already offered to feature in the domestic Twenty20 tournament, saying he would forgo his Australian contract to prepare for the India series.—AFP

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