The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decides to restrict Pakistani players’ participation to two T20 leagues each season. PCB has formed a new NOC (No-Objection Certificate) policy that limits centrally-contracted Pakistani players to play only two leagues (including or excluding Pakistan Super League PSL) per season. Which means that the top Pakistani cricketers can now only participate in one league other than the PSL in a year.
Absurd decision to limit players to 2 T20 leagues a year inc PSL. Already poorly paid and out of IPL, this is going to hit Pak’s top players hard. https://t.co/toRnJWSvyN
— Osman Samiuddin (@OsmanSamiuddin) May 9, 2018
The decision comes in wake of the concerns raised by national coaches and selectors over players’ fitness after contracted Pakistani players played major T20 leagues around the world last year, hence becoming more vulnerable to injuries due to the workload. The fitness concerns have come to head in the past few months after head coach Mickey Arthur pushed for higher fitness standards across the board.
Arthur first raised concerns when the players retuned to national duty in New Zealand last winter in worse shape after lengthy lay-offs. The players then took part in the PSL, some participated in Bangladesh Super League while some in the newly formed T10 league. That is when the management’s oversight of players’ fitness had been very overbearing. So for that the management has now taken a rather hands-on approach to control the players’ participation outside Pakistan duty.
The new policy was made at a meeting held last week between major stakeholders such as chief selector, Inzamam ul Haq, head of academies, Mudassar Nazar and director cricket operations, Haroon Rashid.
“Centrally contracted players will be allowed to participate in two leagues only in a cricket season,” said PCB. “The non-contracted players are bound to play at least three domestic first-class matches for them to be entitled to receive the NOC. While retired players do not need any NOC from PCB, however as per ICC’s rule they are bound to obtain an NOC for two years from the date of retirement.”
Now for Pakistani players, which are already facing financial hits as being the lowest-paid cricket professionals in the world and being banned from playing the IPL, the new policy comes as a huge blow. The cash-rich foreign leagues served as big financial opportunities for Pakistani cricketers unfortunately PCB has now deprived them of that too.
Another important decision taken in the meeting was that no changes will be made to the domestic cricket structure and it will continue to be implemented in the forthcoming season. The only amendment made was that the national one-day tournament will be held alongside the first-class tournament with each one-day match followed by a rest and then the four-day match.
The first-class format remains unchanged for the third year, with eight Regions and eight Departments participating in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (QAT) tournament.