Lahore: In a strange move, the Pakistan Cricket Board has allowed nine of it's top players to sign up for the Bangladesh Twenty20 premier league ahead of the all-important series against England in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
As many as five players from the national side including Younis Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Abdul Rehman, Shoaib Malik and Imran Farhat have been allowed to sign up for different clubs in the league, which starts from December 26.
Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Sohail Tanvir and Wahab Riaz, who are currently out of the team, are the other players who have been given a go-ahead to play in the league.
"Yes some of the players will not return home with the team from Dhaka this month and will stay back to play a few matches of the Bangladesh premier league before they join the team for the England series," a source revealed.
"The players are being paid well by the clubs in the league and some clubs are also interested in signing up Abdul Razzaq and Umar Gul," he said.
Cricket analysts, however, questioned the wisdom behind allowing the players to sign up for the league before the England series.
"The Pakistan team will hardly have 12 to 13 days, after returning home, before they go to the UAE for the England Tests. In this period obviously a conditioning camp will be held and there is a possibility that the board might appoint the new coaching staff headed by Dav Whatmore," an analyst said.
"So it makes no sense that instead of telling the players to mentally and physically prepare themselves for a tough series against England the players have been allowed to go and play in a T20 league that will not help them in their preparations at all," he added.
He pointed out, in contrast, England team will be reaching UAE on January 3 to prepare for the Test series.
"The series against England can't be taken lightly at all. They are a totally different opposition from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh," he said.
The board has already allowed former captain, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq and Rana Naved to play in the Big Bash Twenty20 league in Australia, but the source pointed out that all three were not required by Pakistan for the Test series against England.