All six PSL teams are severely impacted as a number of players have chosen to play in the SA20, ILT20, and Bangladesh Premier League instead of the PSL, which gets underway in Lahore on February 17.
Pace bowler Reece Topley of England is the most recent player to withdraw from the PSL Multan Sultans owing to injury. The team had lost a number of players when they joined on for the upcoming season.
Topley was not granted a no-objection certificate (NOC) by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to participate in the PSL.
Several other boards are reconsidering their decision to provide PSL no-objection certifications.
Pakistani fast bowler Ehsanullah, who underwent elbow surgery following the PSL last year, will also be absent from Multan.
A well-known player from South Africa, Lungi Ngidi, has left Peshawar Zalmi, and Wanandu Hasaranga of Sri Lanka will not be playing for Quetta Gladiators.
Among those who will not play in the event are West Indies players Shai Hope, Matthew Forde, and Akeal Hosein; South Africa’s Tabraiz Shamshi and Rassie van Der Dussen; England’s James Vince; and Afghanistan’s Noor Ahmed and Naveen ul Haq.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been tasked by a PSL franchise owner to review the tournament window since it is impossible to attract major players when three leagues are held consecutively.
“The SA20 ended recently and the ILT20 concludes on the day the PSL begins, so it is getting difficult to sign big players now,” he said on condition of anonymity.
He also pointed out that January-February is a busy season for international cricket series. Sri Lanka are playing a series against Afghanistan, South Africa are in the middle of a two-Test series against New Zealand while West Indies are playing a series against Australia.
“There is an acute need to change the PSL window, else it will lose its charm if we don’t get big overseas names,” he added.
(With PTI inputs)