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Allow Pakistanis in IPL


RANJIT BHUSHAN | New Delhi, April 13, 2013 10:39
Tags : Indian premier league | IPL | Wasim Akram | Pakistani cricketers | BCCI | Ramiz raja | Mohammed Irfan | Umar Gul | India |

 Allow Pakistanis in IPLFormer Pakistani cricketing great Wasim Akram was echoing the view of many, even in this country, when he said that Pakistani players should be allowed to participate in the IPL so that all round standards in the competition are taken to another level. You could put it down to the great fast bowler’s sense of patriotism that he would want his incredibly talented countrymen to participate in the world’s biggest cricketing jamboree but there is nothing exceptionable about what he said.

As the IPL fever catches on after a week of high voltage action, everyone who is anyone in the world of cricket is in India. Top notch cricket professionals, commentators, managers, former players and umpires from all over the globe have descended down in this nearly two-month-long extravaganza.

Why on the good earth should the BCCI then leave out the Pakistanis from playing not just top class cricket but also raking in the moolah which is flowing in? Particularly, when a host of former Pakistani players have prominent roles to play in this current edition of IPL. Wasim, Waqar Younis, Rameez Raza, Mushtaq Ahmed are just some of the few names that come to mind who have challenging roles to perform in one or the other capacity in this edition of the IPL.

There can be little doubt that the bar would have been raised if the best 20-over players in the world from Pakistan were also put on the IPL bidding list. Can you imagine the excitement if the likes of Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammed Irfan, Umar Gul had taken part in the IPL? It could be said with near certainty that the caliber of fast bowling would have gone up a few notches – high as it is even now.

The logic that Pakistan is being punished for promoting terrorism in India by keeping their best players out of IPL makes no sense. Then what are Akram, Waqar and company doing here? Shouldn't they too have been disallowed from the world’s most successful cricket tourney? They were not because they bring in a certain caliber, class and experience.  The same yardstick should have been allowed for their current players whose record in T-20 is pretty formidable – certainly more formidable than India’s.

There are other more effective ways of countering terror but keeping out a bunch of sportsmen is probably not one of them. If there is one ground of convergence between India and Pakistan, it is cricket. It would be useful to use this common British heritage to improve - if not cement - ties. It is probably easier said than done, but that is India’s and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s special initiative as well. Talk everything but always include cricket. It helps.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog are that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Sunday Indian)
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017