KARACHI: 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 Ajmal 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 December 25 and January 6 - their first full series since 2007.
“Since the Big Bash was clashing with our 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 told AFP.
Afridi had already offered to feature in the domestic Twenty20 tournament, saying he would forgo his Australian contract to prepare for the India series.
However, according to media reports earlier in the week, the selection committee had no issues with the players participating in the Australian league.
“These players need to take the PCB’s permission first but as far as selection is concerned, we can manage it without witnessing their performance in the national Twenty20," an official was quoted as saying by a local newspaper.