Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi criticised Cricket South Africa (CSA) for allowing three of its key players to leave for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 that is scheduled to begin tomorrow in India when the international series was on.
South Africa's Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje were among players who were allowed to go on leave to join their respective IPL teams after the second ODI of their three-match series against Pakistan. The series was poised at 1-1 and as expected South Africa ended up losing the third ODI by 28 runs.
"Surprising to see @OfficialCSA allowing players to travel for IPL in the middle of a series. It is sad to see T20 leagues influencing international cricket. Some rethinking needs to be done!!" Afridi tweeted.
However, Afridi was content that Pakistan won on their "fine series win" and praised opener Fakhar Zaman who scored back-to-back centuries in the last two ODIs. He also praised the batting of Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, who missed out on his century by just six runs in the third ODI, getting out to Andile Phehlukwayo on the last ball of their innings.
"Congratulations to Pakistan on a fine series win. Great to see Fakhar follow his brilliant innings in Jo'Burg with another 100. Babar was once again all class, excellent bowling effort by all. A job well done," wrote Afridi in his tweet while expressing concern at the absence of key SA players.
South Africa is not alone as many players from other countries had sought leave to join their respective IPL teams to play in India. Even England team will be missing its players Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes among others if their IPL teams end up reaching the final.
New Zealand could be without captain Kane Williamson and frontline fast bowlers Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson and Lockie Ferguson in their upcoming Test series against England if their respective IPL teams reach the final.
(With inputs from IANS)