The Indian Premier League (IPL) is one of the most watched commercial Twenty20 tournaments in the world. It was developed in 2008 and is currently in its 8th season, commencing 8th April to 24th May. Eight teams take part attracting superstar cricketers from across the world.
In the 1st season many Pakistani cricketers took part, Shoaib Akhtar, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Mohammad Asif, Kamran Akmal. Sohail Tanvir was the highest wicket taker, including a record 6 wickets for 14 runs in 4 overs. He was on the side of the eventual winners Rajasthan Royals.
Unfortunately in November 2008 the horrendous terror attacks took place in Mumbai. This put an end to the Pakistani players taking part in the IPL. They were initially pulled out of the 2009 season by the PCB for safety reasons. Then all sporting ties between India and Pakistan were discontinued.
In March 2009 the horrific terrors attacks on the Sri Lankan players’ bus in Lahore, put an end to International cricket in Pakistan. Unfortunately terrorism is now a global phenomenon, not just restricted to certain countries.
Fast forward to 2015, still no Pakistani players taking part in the IPL. Various reasons are blamed for this both on the part of Pakistan and India.
However with the announcement of the restarting of bilateral cricketing ties between Pakistan and India, relations are improving. A series is planned for December 2015.This is an extremely positive move. The cricketing clashes between Pakistan and India are second to none. If the two cricket boards of BCCI and PCB could communicate further with the blessing of their respective governments, may be Pakistani players could play in the IPL once again.
There are huge advantages for both parties. The Pakistani supporters at home and across the world would love to watch their players perform in India. This would bring in further revenue for the IPL. At the same time the Pakistani players would benefit professionally and financially.
The Lahore Lions team captained by Mohammad Hafeez were allowed to participate in the 2014 Champions League T20 tournament last year in India. Team also included Nasir Jamshed, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz and Ahmed Shezhad. In 2013 Misbah ul Haq led the Faisalabad Wolves to take part in the same tournament in India.
In the 2011 Cricket World Cup in India, the Pakistan team were included.
Several high profile Pakistanis are already a part of IPL. Coach Wasim Akram and all rounder Azhar Mahmood are with Shah Rukh Khan’s reigning champions Kolkata Knight Riders. Elite Umpire Aleem Dar is also present.
Hence I can’t see why India would continue have a huge issue with not including Pakistan players in the IPL franchises? Also why would Pakistan not let give their players permission to take part?
I feel there is a need for sporting and political diplomacy to reach a resolution. In our history sporting ties have always been a way of developing links and friendship.
I personally would find the IPL much more interesting if there were a few more Pakistani players.