Pakistan’s veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez is unhappy after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) asked him to return early from the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
According to sources, the PCB had, earlier, given Hafeez, along with other Pakistan players, the No Objection Certificate (NOC) for CPL till September 18. However, the board has now asked the players to report for the New Zealand series on September 16.
Hafeez asked the top PCB officials, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wasim Khan and Director International Cricket Zakir Khan, to let him return after the conclusion of the event, on September 17, but that request was denied and consequently he is arriving in Lahore on Sunday.
It must be noted that the final of CPL will be played on September 15 and the league organisers had booked a chartered flight for the players, to return home, after the event.
The situation turned from bad to worse when it was revealed that all-rounder Imad Wasim, who is also participating in CPL, was given a deadline of September 17 to report for national duty. A surprised Hafeez approached the PCB over these dual standards but he was told that the CPL’s Chief Executive Officer, Pete Russell, had requested Imad’s presence for the remainder of the event which is why he was allowed to stay back.
Hafeez has not enjoyed a healthy relationship with the PCB in the recent past. He was also dropped from the squad for the series against South Africa, in February, after he didn’t return on time from the T10 League.
Sources added that Hafeez might soon address a press conference to publicly share his reservations, about the PCB, after returning to Pakistan. The all-rounder believes that such actions are being taken deliberately in order to ensure that he steps away from cricket.
There seems to be some sort of confusion with regards to the PCB’s bio-secure bubble protocols ahead of New Zealand series.
When Director Media PCB, Samiul Hasan Burney, was approached on the matter, he stated that all selected players have to report for New Zealand series by September 16. He added that players will be allowed to join the squad on September 18 but after clearing Covid-19 test, conducted at the National High Performance Centre, on September 16.
On the other hand, Pakistan team’s Media Manager Ibrahim Badees stated there was a misunderstanding, with regards to deadline for joining the squad, while adding that players can enter the bio-secure bubble by September 19. He also said that players can report at NHPC till September 17.