IPL 2010 December 2, 2009

Pakistan players a step closer towards IPL

Cricinfo staff

Pakistan's cricketers are a step closer towards playing in the IPL's third edition, starting on March 12 next year, after the country's foreign ministry raised no objections to their participation. The players are still awaiting security clearance from the interior ministry which is a prerequisite for the No Objection Certificates (NOCs) that would allow them to play in the tournament.

"The situation is that the foreign ministry has given political clearance for our players to take part in the IPL to the sports ministry," Faik Ali, a spokesman for the sports ministry, told PTI. "But we are still waiting for security clearance from the interior ministry for the players to go for the IPL."

Pakistan's players were absent from the second IPL, held earlier this year in South Africa, after their government did not allow them to travel to India - where the tournament was originally to be held - for security reasons. The decision came in the wake of the Mumbai attacks last year, after which relations between India and Pakistan deteriorated considerably. Eleven players from Pakistan had taken part in the first IPL, though after the Mumbai attacks, only four were retained by their franchises, though their contracts were suspended until further resolution.

The deadline for the submission of the NOCs has been extended to December 7.

PCB's chairman Ijaz Butt was confident of getting the security clearance from the interior ministry. "Last time the situation was a bit different and things have improved a bit. It will be good for our players if they can play in the IPL," he said.