The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has allowed its cricketers to sign up for the upcoming SA20 league organized by Cricket South Africa (CSA) in January 2023. Earlier, Pakistani players were not part of the main player auction. The first edition of the tournament begins in January 2023.
No Pakistan players were featured in the auction, for a variety of reasons. There was, of course, the packed home season, and there was also the belief that Pakistan players would be snubbed because the franchises are all owned by owners of IPL teams.
The SA20 auction took place in September with a long list of 533 players. Tristan Stubbs fetched the highest bid of Rand 9.2 million (US$ 520,000 approx.) for the inaugural edition and Sunrisers Eastern Cape won a fierce bidding war against MI Cape Town and Johannesburg Super Kings.
PCB Allows Pakistan Cricketers To Sign For SA20 League After Wildcard Picks Introduced
ESPNCricinfo reported that the possible reason for PCB to allow the Pakistani cricketers to sign for the SA20 league is the introduction of new wildcard entries. The process will allow each team to pick one extra player in their squads, and at least two Pakistani players who do not have PCB central contracts are in line to get deals.
The PCB has also allowed contracted players to play in the SA20 league if they can get takers.
“We are introducing a wildcard pick. Post the World Cup, we will allow teams to pick one other player. From a league perspective, we don’t get involved with selection. The teams go to the market and pick,” Graeme Smith, commissioner of the SA20 league, told ESPNCricinfo.
Another possible reason for PCB allowing its players is the postponement of the West Indies tour to Pakistan. The Caribbean side was to tour Pakistan for three T20Is in January 2023 but has been called off. This created a window for Pakistani and West Indies players to become available for T20 leagues in the January-February window.
Apart from the SA20 league, the ILT20 (in the UAE), Australia’s BBL, and the BPL in Bangladesh will all be played in January and PSL 2023 will begin in February.
However, the PCB will continue to not provide NOCs to its players for the ILT20 in UAE. Fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain and wicketkeeper batter Azam Khan were both denied NOCs for the league earlier.