Afghanistan players Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi and Naveen-ul-Haq’s futures in the Indian Premier League have been thrown in turmoil after the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) denied them No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for the next two years.

The decisions come in the wake of the players' wish to be released from their annual central contracts, a step seen by the ACB as prioritizing personal interests over national duty. These players have been active in commercial cricket leagues, prompting their desire for release from central contracts.

Afghanistan's national cricket body said it was prompted to take "disciplinary action" against the players.

With the 2024 season of the IPL starting in March next year, the future of the three Afghan players has become doubtful. Mujeeb was roped in by the Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 2 crore in the IPL 2024 auction, while Naveen and Fazalfaq were retained by Lucknow Super Giants and SunRisers Hyderabad respectively.

A committee member of the ACB confirmed that these three players had asked to be

relieved from the central contract to play cricket in privately-run leagues. Interestingly, several top cricket stars including New Zealand’s Trent Boult and South Africa batter Faf du Plessis have opted out of a central contract in favour of franchise cricket.

“The three players formally communicated their decision to the ACB, expressing their desire to release themselves from the annual central contract, starting from 1st January 2024, as well as requested to consider their consent for their participation in the national events,” said the committee member.

In light of these developments, the ACB has constituted a dedicated committee to probe the issue. The committee’s role encompasses a thorough investigation of the matter, formulation of suitable recommendations that are in ACB’s best interests and conveyance of these suggestions to the Board's top management.

The Board’s decision to postpone the 2024 contracts and deny the players NOCs for two years exhibits serious repercussions faced by cricketers prioritizing personal interests over national representation.
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