Former Australian captain Steve Smith has given his conditional availability for the fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League insisting he would only matches in the United Arab Emirates and not travel to Pakistan for the play-offs and final. Smith, who is serving a 12-month ban for his role in the ball tampering during a Test match against South Africa earlier this year, is allowed to appear in T20 leagues worldwide.
His ban ends before the World Cup in England next year and it is the first time the Australian batsman has given his availability for the PSL. According to a reliable source in the Pakistan Super League secretariat, besides some other top foreign players have also made it clear they wouldn’t travel to Pakistan for the last leg of the PSL featuring eight matches including the final in Karachi.
“Smith and these players have said they will only be available to play in UAE,” the source said. South Africa’s AB de Villiers has also limited his first ever appearance in the PSL to just two weeks and that too apparently only for matches in the UAE. The names of 371 foreign players and 311 Pakistani players will feature in the PSL players draft to be held on November 20th in Islamabad.
Except for India, players from all the test playing nations and associate member countries of the ICC are available for the players draft. Many of the foreign stars will only be available for part of the PSL when they are free of national duty or after the conclusion of the Big Bash league in Australia.
For example Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and Australian opener Chris Lynn will only be available for the league following the conclusion of BBL.
The local list of players also includes the names of Pakistan’s former captain, Salman Butt, who has completed a five-year ban for spot-fixing and discarded stars, Imran Farhat, Imran Nazir, Abdul Razzaq.
In the third PSL also the six franchises in the tournament faced difficulties when some of their overseas stars refused to travel to Lahore and Karachi to play in the play-offs and final due to security concerns.
The PCB has once again told the franchises it is their responsibility to decide whether they want to sign on foreign players who are not willing to play in Pakistan “The onus has been put on us that we must convince our foreign signings to also be prepared to play in Pakistan,” a franchise owner said.
In a big boost for the PSL, the PCB has apparently already sold the tournament title rights for a booming 1.5 billion rupees for a three-year period a big increase on the previous sponsorship of one billion rupees.
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