Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen, fast bowler Tymal Mills and all-rounder Luke Wright have pulled out of the Pakistan Super League final amid safety fears.
Pietersen, England Twenty20 specialist Mills and Wright had been due to play for Quetta Gladiators on Sunday in Lahore, which has been hit by a series of bombings by Islamist militants.
The rest of the month-long T20 competition has been held in the United Arab Emirates because of security concerns and Lahore’s status as the venue for the final was only confirmed on Monday.
“It’s with a heavy heart I will not be coming to Lahore,” Wright, who plays domestically for Sussex and last represented England in 2014, wrote on social media.
“I have a young family and for me a game of cricket is just not worth the risk. I’m sorry as I know how much it means to you all and hopefully in the future the safety will not be in doubt to come play there.”
Neither Pietersen nor Mills, who attracted the second largest bid for an English player in the auction for next month’s Indian Premier League, cited safety concerns but confirmed their withdrawal from the final.
Mills said: “Unfortunately I will not be travelling to Lahore for the final but will be watching from home and cheering on the boys who I know will fight just as much as they have all tournament.”
Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan called the decision to stage the final in Lahore “madness”, adding: “God forbid, if any blast takes place in Lahore, there will be no cricket in Pakistan in the next 10 years.”
Pietersen scored 241 for Quetta, including 40 off 22 balls in a one-run win over Peshawar Zalmi in Tuesday’s semi-final. Mills took seven wickets in his five appearances, while Wright played just once.
South Africa batsman Rilee Rossouw, Quetta’s top scorer with 255 runs, and New Zealand spinner Nathan McCullum have also withdrawn from the final.