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Uncertainty over Imad Wasim and Alex Hales’ participation in the T20GL

CSA, at this stage, is confident that Pakistani players purchased in the draft will be available for the tournament.

Imad Wasim
Imad Wasim of Pakistan. (Photo by Barrington Coombs-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

Just when the ownership of the newly-named Stellenbosch Kings sorted out before the start of the T20 Global League, the franchise now faces an issue about player availability. Former Proteas coach, Eric Simons, who is the head coach Stephen Fleming’s assistant, has been actively involved in the formulation of the franchise during its baby steps.

With the Stellenbosch team being ownerless before Preity Zinta purchased the franchise this week, Simons has worked closely with Cricket South Africa’s operational staff to ensure that the team would be ready for their opening game against the Jo’burg Giants on 4 November. He was particularly busy at the inaugural player draft because Fleming was unable to attend.

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Their international marquee player, seamer Lasith Malinga, headed to Boland Park, but the Kings completed some shrewd business the following day in the full draft. Besides investing in local heroes like Justin Ontong and Henry Davids, the Winelands team also managed to land two massive overseas signings in the form of England’s opening batsman Alex Hales and Pakistan all-rounder Imad Wasim.

Hales has been in sensational form in all formats of the game at domestic level recently, and the possibility of a recall to Test cricket for the Ashes tour to Australia at the end of the year seems a distinct possibility, meaning, it could rule Hales out of the inaugural T20 Global League.

“We’ll definitely be watching that Ashes squad selection with a great deal of interest,” Simons said. “Time will tell whether we will have Alex. We were very excited to get him in our first draft.”

Scheduling puts Imad’s chances at risk too

As for Imad Wasim, the all-rounder is the No. 1 ranked T20 bowler and has been earmarked to play a major role in the Kings’ overall strategy, as the Pakistani left-arm spinner often bowls in the powerplay overs and at the death. There is, however, an uncertainty that Wasim will be allowed to participate in the T20 Global League because the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have re-scheduled their own T20 competition over the same time period.

CSA, at this stage, is confident that Pakistani players purchased in the draft will be available for the tournament, but Simons is understandably concerned about whether they will be allowed to replace the duo in case the need arises.

“It was one of our first questions because those are two important components for us as they (Hales and Wasim) were our first two picks. Cricket South Africa seems pretty confident that it will work,” Simons said, as reported by IOL.

“We don’t have absolute clarity at this stage yet. The talk around injuries was that if you have an injury within the tournament you have to stay in the draft. But this is a unique situation. They are both high-profile players. I think the circumstances are very different. Maybe they will let us go outside of the draft and see who is available. I think they will cross that bridge when the problem arises and hopefully the problem won’t arise,” he concluded.

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