ICL: Indian Cricket League

No more county stints for Pakistani cricketers?


Pakistani cricket officials are set to become more miserly in giving their players permission to sign county deals in a bid to shield them from the risk of injuries and burn-outs.

‘The News’ has learnt through well-placed sources that after disallowing leading pacers like Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul and more-recently Rao Iftikhar Anjum from playing county cricket, the PCB is focusing on players like leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, who have been freely and regularly playing professional cricket in England.

Top Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials are convinced that the board pays the players handsomely for performing national duty and has the right to stop players from playing county cricket in the future in case it conflicted with Pakistan’s interests.

They have also decided that unlike the past when they gave ample compensation to players like Asif and Gul to prevent them from signing county deals, no such incentive would be given to players in the future.

The officials have prepared a report on the affects that county cricket can have on a player’s fitness and form which they will submit to the Governing Board which meets in Karachi next week.

Several leading Pakistani bowlers including Asif, Gul and Rana Naved have sustained injuries while playing county cricket.

Unlike the past when they thought only fast bowlers were at risk of injuries and burnout if they had a county stint, the PCB officials have reached the conclusion that even slow bowlers like Kaneria ‘become quite usless’ for Pakistan after a marathon county season.

“Time and again we’ve noticed that Kaneria is way past his best when he returns home for national duty after a county season,” a senior PCB official told this correspondent on condition of anonymity.

“Even in India (last year), he was unable to give his best and we believe that too much county cricket left him drained.

“Bowlers like Kaneria are made to over-bowl by their counties, which is the main reason why they are completely burnt out after playing in a full season.”

Kaneria has signed a lucrative contract worth around 80,000 pounds to feature in a fifth consecutive season for Essex later this year. But if the PCB decides to form a policy decision calling for preventing leading cricketers from playing county cricket then he will have to choose between Pakistan or Essex.

It would be a tricky choice as unlike Asif and Gul, he would not get any compensation for skipping the county season.

“Why should we give the players any compensation?” asked the officials. “We already pay them (players) much more than what a county has to offer,” he added.

According to details, a leading Pakistani cricketer makes a guaranteed sum of around Rs 3 million annually through a central contract offered by the PCB. In addition to that he gets a share from the sponsorship logo which amount to around Rs 2.5 million annually. Then a player who regularly plays for Pakistan gets around Rs 5-6 million through match fees.

“If a player is a part of the national team, he is guaranteed to make at least Rs 10 million a year. The income he makes through endorsements or commercials is additional,” said the official.

He added, “The board tries its best to look after the players. We even gave up to US$100,000 to each of the players just for signing the central contracts last year.”

According to the official, the PCB is planning to put down its policy on county cricket in black and white following the approval of the Governing Board which meets here on January 25.

The Governing Board will also take a decision on the fate of the country’s ICL rebels at the moot. Several Pakistani players including former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Imran Farhat and Taufeeq Umar featured in the breakaway Indian Cricket League last year despite clear warnings from the PCB.

The PCB decided to bar the players from representing Pakistan and also blocked them from playing domestic cricket. The case has now been referred to the Governing Board.

Source:Cricket News

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