x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

PCB tells players to focus on England series

The cricket board, however, is hopeful that Bangladesh will bail them out of hibernation by agreeing to tour Pakistan.

Pakistan's Taufeeq Umar plays a shot on his way to an unbeaten 44 against Bangladesh.
Pakistan's Taufeeq Umar plays a shot on his way to an unbeaten 44 against Bangladesh.

Pakistan players have been refused permission to play in the lucrative Bangladesh Twenty20 league by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in order to concentrate on next month's Test series against England in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Nine Pakistani players have been offered contracts by clubs in the Bangladesh premier league that begins on December 26.

However, the PCB has stopped Test players Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez and Abdul Rehman from signing with the league.

"The PCB feels that at this time when the national team is due to play a very important Test series against England it would not be appropriate to allow our top players to play in any foreign T20 league," the PCB media manager Nadeem Sarwar said.

"No player at this stage has been given permission to sign any contract."

Other players offered contracts include out-of-favour Kamran Akmal and Wahab Riaz, Umar Akmal and Sohail Tanvir who recently played in the one-day series against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The Pakistani team are currently touring Bangladesh and will return home next week before leaving for Dubai on January 9. The first of three Tests against England start on January 17 in Dubai with the squad scheduled to be named next week.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's cricket chief said he hoped the Bangladesh team would tour the country, after the 2009 attacks on Sri Lanka's side brought international visits to a standstill.

The comments from Zaka Ashraf came after a meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart in Dhaka, with a tour possible in April next year if the visitors get a security clearance.

"It's a great news and we hope that Bangladesh tour us in April next year after getting security clearance from their government," said Ashraf, chairman of the PCB.

He added that "we will provide them with foolproof [security] arrangements."

International cricket has been suspended in Pakistan since March 2009 when attacks on the Sri Lankan national team bus in Lahore left eight people dead and wounded seven visiting players and their assistant coach.

In the ongoing Test series, Taufeeq Umar closed in on a second successive half-century to steady Pakistan on the second day of the second and final Test in Dhaka yesterday.

The left-handed opener was unbeaten on 44 as Pakistan reached 87 for one in their first innings at stumps after bowling out Bangladesh for 338.

Azhar Ali was 26 not out when play was called off due to bad light.

* Agency