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PSL – Karachi Kings hit by player availability issues ahead of season opener

Karachi Kings have been dealt a double blow ahead of their opening fixture of PSL 2024, learning that two of their overseas players have limited availability. Tabraiz Shamsi, the South Africa wristspinner, will miss the second half of the tournament, while English allrounder Jamie Overton has been withdrawn from the entire season.

ESPNcricinfo understands that Cricket South Africa (CSA) will revoke no-objection certificates (NOCs) for centrally-contracted players for the duration of their domestic season. Shamsi, who is a crucial part of South Africa’s limited-overs squads, is required by the board to return home to participate in the domestic T20 competition from March 9, and will depart the PSL on March 6.

Shamsi is expected to feature for Kings in their first six games of the season, starting with their fixture against Multan Sultans on Sunday, but will be unavailable for the business end of the tournament. It is a significant blow for the Kings, who are looking at a partial replacement for Shamsi to bolster their spin ranks – which also include Mohammad Nawaz, Arafat Minhas and Shoaib Malik.

South Africa’s requirement to have centrally-contracted players available for the domestic season will also affect Rassie van der Dussen at Lahore Qalandars. Van der Dussen, like Shamsi, must also return home on March 6, missing the best part of the second half of the season.

Overton has been pulled out of the PSL by his county, Surrey, who have withdrawn his NOC to ensure he is fit and fresh for the start of the County Championship season on April 5. He has spent the winter playing T20 cricket for Adelaide Strikers in the BBL and Gulf Giants in the ILT20, and suffered a minor shoulder injury at the ILT20.

Surrey’s decision means Overton will miss out on another opportunity to push his credentials for inclusion in England’s T20 World Cup squad after an impressive recent run in short-form cricket, which included being named MVP in the men’s Hundred last summer. He is uncapped in limited-overs internationals and won his only Test cap to date in June 2022.

These latest withdrawals have further weakened an underwhelming pool of overseas players at this year’s PSL. Last month, Lahore Qalandars’ Rashid Khan pulled out as he recovers from a back surgery in an attempt to ensure he is fit for the IPL in April.

On Sunday, Reece Topley also had his NOC revoked by England out of an abundance of caution after picking up a niggle in the SA20. South Africa’s insistence on centrally-contracted players participating in the domestic league, as well as a clash with a number of bilateral series, has also meant a smaller pool to pick from.

The PSL starts on February 17 in Lahore, with the final in Karachi on March 18.

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