Due to their PSL commitments, Pakistan players are not going to be part of the much-anticipated two-match T20I series between Asia XI and World XI to be played in Dhaka in March 2020. The tentative squad for Asia XI includes players from India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan confirmed that there are no Pakistan players in the Asia XI squad due to the clash of dates with Pakistan Super League which goes on till March 22. The absence of Pakistan stars from the invitational two-match T20I series was confirmed on Tuesday when the BCB announced the squads for the T20I series. The matches are part of the celebrations in Bangladesh to mark the 100th anniversary of the country's founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rehman.
While the absence of Pakistan players did kick up a storm on social media with fans questioning the motives, a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesperson had confirmed in December that Pakistan players were invited for the Asia XI squads but they had to decline the request due to clash of dates with the PSL.
"The T20Is between World XI and Asia XI were scheduled from March 16-20, while the HBL PSL 2020 is likely to end on March 22. 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," said a PCB spokesperson, reported India Today.
While the two matches between Asia XI and World XI are scheduled for March 21 and 22, PSL 2020 is scheduled to go on till March 22 on which the final will be played. The Indian captain Virat Kohli may play one of the two matches for Asia XI along with KL Rahul. Apart from the two star players, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Shami have been included in the Asia XI squad for both the T20I matches.
Meanwhile, the BCCI is awaiting confirmation from Virat Kohli who is currently leading India in New Zealand. The Indian side will also play a three-match ODI series against South Africa at home between March 12 and 18. Nazmul Hassan revealed that they haven’t signed any contracts but Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Shikhar Dhawan and Mohammed Shami are supposed to come.
"We have already received four names from India. We haven't signed contracts but Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Shikhar Dhawan and Mohammed Shami are supposed to come. They have said KL Rahul and Virat Kohli will play one game each, but that hasn't been finalised,” said Nazmul Hassan.
Asia XI: 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: 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).
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