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September 7, 2011
Abdul Razzaq, who will be the only Pakistan player to participate in this year's Champions League Twenty20 in India, has said he hopes cricketing relations between India and Pakistan improve, with matches between the two countries resuming and Pakistan players being included in the IPL. Razzaq will play for Leicestershire in the Champions League, and will be only the second Pakistan player to play in the tournament - Yasir Araft played for Sussex in the first tournament in 2009.
"When we played in the ICL [Indian Cricket League] the whole charm of that league was Pakistan players playing in India, so I hope that after I go and play the Champions League, India also open the doors of the IPL to Pakistan players," Razzaq said. "I have faced no problems playing in India and even in the worst of times people of India welcome Pakistan players with open hearts and I hope I am soon part of a Pakistan team playing against India."
Pakistan teams have not taken part in the Champions League, while Pakistan players have not played in the IPL since the tournament's debut in 2008. Cricket relations between India and Pakistan were suspended after the Mumbai terror attacks of December 2008, with no bilateral series between the two countries since. Razzaq said he hoped that would change soon.
"I hope the respective governments will negotiate to resume Indo-Pak cricket because without India and Pakistan playing each other, cricket is deprived of a high-profile, most-watched cricket series. Doors should always be open for sportsmen or else you change the name of cricket, because cricket is the binding force between these two countries, which we have seen in the past."
The ICC's Future Tours Programme has scheduled a Test and ODI series between Pakistan and India for 2012, but while PCB chairman Ijaz Butt has said talks are progressing, there has been no official word from the BCCI on whether and where the series will go ahead.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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