On the flip side of the coin, Pakistani legspinner Usama Mir—who was to be denied an NOC by the Pakistan Cricket Board—misses the upcoming T20 Blast. He was more in for the whole tournament for the Worcestershire Rapids, but again, an official statement from the PCB quelled all those thoughts.

Usama Mir: Worcestershire sign Hayden Walsh cover after NOC rejection for T20 Blast game

ESPNcricinfo can confirm that Mir’s NOC has been rejected, although he wasn’t named in the squad for this month’s T20 World Cup. It is believed to be the conditions written into his new three-year central contract with the PCB from 2023, after prolonged negotiations, in which centrally contracted players are now allowed to play only two franchise T20 leagues outside the PSL each season.

The PCB said that the “PSL +2” policy means Mir is ineligible for any other T20 leagues during the current cycle of his central contract, from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024. Meanwhile, Mir had some The Hundred playing commitments in August 2023 and the Big Bash League this past season. The PCB, therefore, has backdated his contract to start from July 1, 2023, to be ratified under that policy, although he played the competition before his central contract this year.

The PCB had also summoned Mir back from the BBL after only playing five games so she could represent the country in the five-match T20 series in New Zealand. A PCB official said that a NOC could be refused on ‘National duty requirements, further reducing Mir’s chances of playing in other Leagues.

But the Mir and the Worcestershire Rapids were hoping for an NOC to be applied for at the death. With a couple of performances in the 2024 PSL, having been the top wicket-taker for Multan Sultans, he was also one to reckon with last season for Manchester Originals, whom he has retained in a £60,000 contract for the 2024 season. The Worcestershire Rapids franchise replaced one Mir with Hayden Walsh on the advice of Jason Holder.

He said: “I am thrilled to join Worcestershire and be a part of such a prestigious club. All the things said by Jason and Alzarri about the club and squad of players are so positive and I look forward to being a part of a successful group of cricketers… it is an exciting opportunity, and I can’t wait to get started.”

“This was a case of the right man at the right time,” said an disappointed Ashley Giles, the CEO of Worcestershire. “Hayden is a hugely talented and versatile cricketer who greatly adds to our squad. He comes to us with a glowing reference about his ability and character from Jason, so it’s a real shame Usama won’t join us because of the visa issue. We are sure Hayden will fit in seamlessly and add enormous value to our campaign.”

He was one of the best performers in the last Blast, with him scoring 132 runs and dismissing 19 batsmen of the Worcestershire team in as many matches. Likely, the player now will intend to play The Hundred and another league this season, but it remains to be seen how he will be able to get it because of PCB’s hard policy.

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