The Sphageeza League is set to lose its star quotient as one of its superstar participants has decided to pull out of the league at the last minute. After confirming his participation last week, former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi has decided not to travel to Kabul for the League that begins next week.

Though Afridi cited ‘some very urgent personal issue’ as the reason behind his pull out, there are speculations that the Pakistan cricketer had to step back as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) did not want him to travel to Afghanistan. However, there has not been any confirmation on that.

“Very thankful to Aghanistan government, ACB and Muslimyar Speenghar Tigers to invite me, but I have some very urgent family issue come up,” Afridi stated.

Sportstar was the first publication to report about Afridi’s participation in the league along with former South Africa cricketer Herschelle Gibbs as the coach of Speenghar Tigers. But on Friday, well-placed sources indicated that the former Pakistan captain had to take a U-turn in a bid to not draw PCB’s ire.

Interestingly, in an interview to Sportstar earlier this week, PCB chairman Najam Sethi had said that the Board will be hosting its annual awards programme on September 14, where Afridi too would be felicitated. “We are holding our Annual Awards Ceremony onSeptember 14th during which we shall also honour Misbah ul Haq, Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi,” Sethi had told this publication.

Even as Afridi has pulled out of the league, his former team-mate Abdul Razzaq has reached Kabul to be a part of the league for his franchise Al Masafi AMO Sharks. “Yes, he (Razzaq) is here, and he will be playing the tournament for our team,” AMO Sharks coach Gordon Parsons told Sportstar from Kabul.

Zimbabwe’s Sean Williams, who was issued No Objection Certificate by its home board, too has pulled out of the league to prepare for the domestic league.

However, on a day when one of its biggest stars opted out of the league, Afghanistan Cricket Board officials, surprisingly, stayed mum on the whole issue.