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Pak clears players for Big Bash league; Afridi puts country before cash

Pakistan on Monday allowed three players to compete in Australia's Big Bash Twenty20 competition following a request from Australian cricket authorities.

Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Umar Akmal had all signed up to play in the league from next month, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) last week refused permission.

Afridi had been due to play with Sydney Thunder. Ajmal signed for Adelaide Strikers and Umar for Sydney Sixers but the PCB ordered them to feature in a domestic Twenty20 event being used to test players ahead of the matches against arch-rivals India.

Despite the clearance, Afridi ended his contract, saying he wanted to play in Pakistan's domestic competition. "I have ended my contract in the Big Bash League, because I want to play in the national event to improve my form and justify my selection in the team," he said.

Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi has opted out of the Sydney Thunder deal. Pic/LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/GettyImages

But on Monday, PCB spokesman Nadeem Sarwar said they would be allowed to play in the Big Bash following a request from Cricket Australia that said they had already signed their contracts.

"We will allow these players to go to Australia at the end of our Twenty20 tournament around December 8," Sarwar told AFP, adding that the players will have to return for the national camp before the Indian tour.

Pakistan will play India in two Twenty20 matches and three one-day internationals between December 25 and January 6 -- the two countries' first series since 2007.

The players were reportedly concerned about not being signed in the future for the Big Bash if they had not honoured their contracts.

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