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IPL 2014

February 21, 2014

Bring Pakistan back into the IPL

Uzair Hasan Rizvi

Azhar Mahmood was the only Pakistani player in IPL 2013, and that too on the basis of his British citizenship © AFP

Last year, When Harbhajan Singh and Ricky Ponting played in the IPL for the same team, Mumbai Indians, the infamous memories from Sydneygate were partially buried. It proved that the IPL was capable of burying the hatchet and moving on. However, not a single Pakistani name figured in the IPL auctions held in Bangalore recently.

That came as a setback to Pakistan cricket - a point that their T20 captain Mohammad Hafeez stressed. "It is strange that for years now Pakistani players have not been allowed to play in the IPL. I played In the first season and it was great learning experience," he had said. Even the PCB head Najam Sethi has been in touch with BCCI in an attempt to resolve the situation.

In the inaugural edition of the IPL back in 2008, seven Pakistani players were sold to different franchises, with Shahid Afridi being the costliest Pakistani bought by the Deccan Chargers. Despite having a quiet tournament, Afridi was a crowd puller. Umar Gul was the highest wicket-taker for Kolkata Knight Riders and Sohail Tanvir was the bowler of the tournament.

In the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks later that year, tension between the two countries mounted, and Pakistan has since been shut out of the IPL. In 2010, despite being included in the auction, no Pakistani players were sold. In 2012 former Pakistani all-rounder Azhar Mahmood played for Kings XI Punjab, but perhaps only because he had by then acquired British citizenship.

Amidst all this, Pakistan won the World T20 in 2009, and made the semi-finals in 2010 and 2012. Currently Pakistan have got one of the strongest squads in the format, with players like Saeed Ajmal, Hafeez, Gul and Afridi all occupying high rankings in the ICC list.

At this year's auction an IPL official said: "The presence of Pakistani players creates security concerns for the team and there is no guarantee that franchises would be willing to buy them even if they are in the auction." Recent developments around the timing of elections in India mean that the IPL might have to be shifted out of India this year. It's highly likely that a bulk of the tournament will be held at a neutral venue, probably South Africa. This could provide an opening for Pakistan's players since it will make the security fears over hosting them in India irrelevant.

Here's hoping Pakistan players make it to the IPL. After all, which cricket fan wouldn't want to see MS Dhoni and Afridi hitting the world's best bowlers out of the park together?

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Uzair is a sports aficionado, currently pursuing his masters in journalism from AJK Mass Communication Research Centre in New Delhi

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Posted by Dummy4 on (February 26, 2014, 21:21 GMT)

IPL is likely to be shifted out of India due to general elections, this might pave an opportunity for Pakistan players to participate in the tournament.

Posted by Ashok on (February 26, 2014, 12:13 GMT)

Not sure what the BCCI can do without a go-ahead from the government of the country. I see little chance of Pakistani players making it to the IPL until political relations between the south Asian neighbours improve.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 26, 2014, 10:38 GMT)

I think bringing the Pakistani players in IPL will reduce the tension between these two countries..!!!

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 26, 2014, 8:03 GMT)

No need to play IPL! Look at India, they are paying the price Zaheer, Ishant, Ashwin, Vinay Kumar, Raina all play the IPL. Always do well there and never get injured And when it comes to international cricket, no more pathetic performers than them (especially outside India)

Posted by Madhukar on (February 25, 2014, 20:15 GMT)

sir it is pathetic to see these politicians playing tricks to divert their mistakes, they should never meddle with the sport, pakistanis must be invited to play in india please take this and let us learn from every one.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 25, 2014, 17:22 GMT)

I dont think the francises have any problem with Pakistani players as can be seen from Azar Mahmood participating in the last IPL. The main reason I think they dont want to spend money on Pakistani players is because of the volatile relation between the two countries. SRK said as much after the 2010 auctions that they would have liked to have Shoaib Akhtar back in the team but they weren't sure that his visa would be cleared. Franchises will not take the risk of spending money on players when there is a risk that political tension between the two countries could escalate and their player would be unable to participate in the IPL.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 25, 2014, 15:18 GMT)

pakistanis prooved they are superior just look at their u 19 record i have question from the whole world just look at these pakistanis there is no cricket at home no ipl since years no media back up and once u compare the result with neighboring state its astonishing and a marked contrast so beware dont press this nation to the limit

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 25, 2014, 10:31 GMT)

Dirty Politics spoiled the Gentle Man game and after the autocratic step towards big three i am not seeing flourishing of cricket game. Cricket must stand aside over the personal issues.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 25, 2014, 6:01 GMT)

I think that instead of Pakistani Players being allowed in IPL, Teams from Pakistan and SL and Bangladesh should be allowed in IPL.

It should be made an Asian Players League, with 8 teams from India, Four From Pakistan and two each from SL and Bangladesh. There should be two groups of eights teams and top two from each group to qualify for SF.

This would be a very good tournament and solve the problem of SLPL and Bangladesh PL ...

Matches should be played in all four countries (like they do in European Football league)..

I do not know whether BCCI would stoop "so low" to talk on equal terms with PCB, SLCB and BCB..

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 25, 2014, 5:38 GMT)

Pakistani and Bangladesh player are have lot of strong position in cricket world but still they are not in the IPL its not so interesting tournament we think so..

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