LAHORE: Former Test pacer Sarfraz Nawaz on Friday expressed his disappointment over South Africa Cricket (CSA) move of allowing its players to leave their ongoing bilateral home series with Pakistan midway and join the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL).
Talking to Dawn, Sarfraz advised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to raise this matter with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and urged the game’s world governing body to frame strong rules and regulations giving priority to international bilateral cricket, adding “otherwise a lucrative league like the IPL would damage bilateral international cricket contests”.
“Every cricket board has formulated some rules, which empower them to bind all their cricketers to give first priority to national duty. However, South Africa allowed its leading players to leave the [recently-concluded] ODI home series against Pakistan after only two [out of three] matches and to miss the entire [forthcoming] four-match T20 series,” Sarfraz remarked.
“Though this situation will [indirectly] help Pakistan win the T20 series, South Africa did not give due consideration to our series which is unfair,” Sarfraz emphasised.
“The PCB faced significant pressure from the PSL franchises to resume the PSL 6 in April, [which was postponed midway in March this year due to Covid-19 cases] while deferring Pakistan’s tours to South Africa and Zimbabwe as first priority should be the PSL.
“However, the PCB took a wise decision by not postponing the tours to South Africa and Zimbabwe which signifies that Pakistan gave due importance to these bilateral competitions,” he added.
“On the other hand, CSA relieved their top players for the IPL without giving due importance to the series against Pakistan which is unfair and the PCB should raise this matter at all the levels,” the ex-paceman insisted.
While noting that the IPL was also offering cash incentives to cricket boards to relieve their players for the cash-rich league, Sarfraz lamented the move was forcing the officials of boards to give top priority to the IPL over their bilateral series.
Meanwhile giving his views on Pakistan’s ODI series triumph in South Africa, Sarfaraz termed it a great achievement for the tourists, adding the entire team and its management deserved due credit for the impressive results.
However, he pointed out that a brittle middle-order was not a good sign for Pakistan, though the top order comprising captain Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq did well during the ODI contests.
According to Sarfraz, some critics raised unnecessary questions over Fakhar’s run-out in the second ODI against South Africa after he had smashed a splendid 193.
Though another former Test all-rounder Shahid Afridi also criticised South Africa for its move to relieve the players for the IPL, Misbah-ul-Haq played down this factor during a presser, saying the replacements of five relieved players were also talented. However, the Pakistan head coach said the South African move had made the hosts’ bowling attack weak.
Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2021