Cricket fans might see Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli leading the way when World XI takes on Asia XI in a two-match T20 series in Bangladesh next month.
However, the action-packed series will feel a bit dull in the absence of players from Pakistan, the No. 1 T20 side. The word was that Pakistan’s white-ball captain and top T20 batsman, Babar Azam, and seasoned all-rounder, Shoaib Malik, will be part of the Asian squad.
It later turned out that no Pakistani player was included when the BCB president, Nazmul Hassan, announced the squad in Dhaka. The rumor had it that it was because of the tensed relations between Pakistan and India; however, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) discarded the notion.
However, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has clarified that it is not the bilateral relation with India but the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) which prevented their players from playing in Bangladesh. The PSL 2020, which started on February 20, will continue till March 22 – till when the World T20Is are scheduled. The PCB hence denied the BCB’s request to send their players for the series
“The T20Is between World XI and Asia XI were scheduled from March 16-20, while the PSL 2020 is likely to end on March 22,” a PCB spokesperson said.
“Since dates of both the series couldn’t be changed, we offered our regrets to the BCB, both verbally and in writing, which they understood and accepted.”
“It is unfortunate that the facts were twisted to mislead Pakistan cricket fans and followers.” he added.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India Joint Secretary Jayesh George said that they were aware that Pakistan players won’t feature in the Asia XI squad for the two-match T20 series organised by Bangladesh Cricket Board.
With the belief that the BCB had given a preference to the BCCI over the Pakistan Cricket Board, a PCB official issued a clarification.
George had also played down talks of preferential treatment being handed out to his board.
“What we are aware of is that there will be no Pakistan players in the Asia XI. That is what the message is, so, there is no question of both countries coming together or picking one over the other,” he told IANS.
Indian stars Virat Kohli and KL Rahul who have been named in the Asia XI squad are only expected to play one of the two matches while Shikhar Dhawan, Mohammed Shami, and Kuldeep Yadav will be available for the full series. The matches will be played in Dhaka on March 18 and 21.
Asia XI Squad: Virat Kohli*, K.L. Rahul*, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Shikhar Dhawan, Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Thisara Perera, Rashid Khan, Mustifizur Rehman, Sandeep Lamichhane, Lasith Malinga, Muzeeb ur Rehman.
World XI Squad: Alex Hales, Chris Gayle, Faf du Plessis (Captain), Nicholas Pooran, Ross Taylor, Jonny Bairstow, Kieron Pollard, Adil Rashid, Sheldon Cottrell, Lungi Ngidi, Andrew Tye, Mitchell McClenaghan. (Coach: Tom Moody).