Faheem Ashraf and Usman Shinwari, the two Pakistan cricket team bowlers who were slated to play for the Melbourne Renegades in the upcoming 2019/20 Big Bash League, have been denied an No Objection Certificate by the Pakistan Cricket Board. Ashraf, who was dropped from the final World Cup squad in May and has not played for the national side since then, was signed up by the Melbourne Renegades for their first eight games, while Shinwari was picked up by the same team for the first five matches. A PCB source said that Ashraf has now been asked to focus on playing domestic cricket, while Shinwari has been called up for national duty for the home series against Sri Lanka. The two players were due to fly out to Australia next week.
The Renegades have decided to replace Ashraf and Shinwari with English pacers Richard Gleeson and Harry Gurney. Pakistan is hosting Sri Lanka for two Tests in December with the first Test currently affected by rain in Rawalpindi with only 91 overs possible on all three days. However, the fact that Test cricket has returned to Pakistan has provided the chairman Ehsan Mani the much-needed confidence that he needs.
"I think we have faced enough problems due to international cricket not being played at home. We have now taken all steps to create a safe environment for touring teams and we will not play our home series at any neutral venues now," Mani told 'Samaa' TV channel.
He once again expressed his disappointment that India has steadfastly refused to play bilateral cricket with Pakistan in prevailing conditions. "They think by not playing cricket with Pakistan it will cause us any problem. They are wrong," Mani said. "I think the Indian people want to see bilateral cricket between India and Pakistan but unfortunately there is political interference in the game in India."