INDIA: Pakistani cricketers have been consistently ignored for the Indian Premier League (IPL) since 2008 amid increased tension between the two countries because of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. But this scenario has changed with the inclusion of former Pakistani cricketer Azhar Mahmood.
Azhar Mahmood, who has been recently included within the IPL, is currently representing Kings XI Punjab. The former Pakistani all-rounder, who is now a British national as well, is the first Pakistani player to play cricket within the IPL since 2008.
Azhar was of the view that the PCB and the Indian officials can bilaterally resolve this IPL issue with respect to the inclusion of Pakistani cricketers and he further requested the concerned authorities to come forward and reconcile the issues that left the Pakistani players sidelined.
“I don’t think the doors were ever closed for professionals from Pakistan to be part of the IPL” stated Azhar. To support this, he gave examples of commentator Ramiz Raja, Kolkatta Knight Riders coach Waseem Akram and Umpire Aleem Dar.
“I cannot really answer as to why the Pakistan players are still not a part of IPL but I think the PCB needs to look into this,” he added.
Azhar Mahmood, not currently contracted by the Pakistan Cricket Board, became a Britsih citizen in 2011 and is now a fully qualified English cricketer.
The last time Azhar Mahmood represented Pakistan was during the South Africa series in 2007, although he was called up for the 2007 World Cup as well but never got the chance to represent his country because of Pakistan’s early exit.