Sohail Tanvir and Shahid Afridi, the Pakistani cricketers, will not feature in this the Friends Life Twenty20 championships in England this year due to visa-related hassles.
Worcestershire had initially planned to have Tanvir for the entire T20 season, but his recall to the Pakistan squad for the One-Day International series in Sri Lanka last month deemed him unavailable for the first half of the tournament. And now, with visa issues refusing to be resolved, the county will have to do without the lef-arm paceman for rest of the tournament too.
"It has been well documented that obtaining visa for overseas professionals is becoming more and more difficult," said David Leatherdale, Chief Executive of Worcestershire County Cricket Club. "We are very disappointed that Sohail won't be joining us. But with just four group matches remaining, and still no guarantee that the visa process has been completed in Pakistan, his stay with the club is no longer practical."
Sohail's unavailability meant Worcestershire have only one overseas player in Phil Hughes, the Australian opener, for their T20 campaign. The team, though, is on course for a quarterfinal berth after four wins in their first six matches.
Afridi, the former Pakistan captain, who was supposed to be available for Hampshire's entire T20 campaign, is also unavailable. The delay in obtaining a visa meant that Hampshire stuck to their current set of players for the remainder of the tournament.
"We are deep into the 2012 competition and the side is settled so we don't feel it is right to change that now," said Giles White, manager of Hampshire County Cricket Club.
Afridi was one of the shining stars in the county's campaign in 2011. His 17 wickets in ten matches helped the side qualify for the semifinal, which they lost to Somerset in the one-over eliminator. Hamsphire, however, did not rule Afridi out for the future. "The door is still open for him to return to Hampshire in future years should circumstances suit both parties," said White.