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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

IPL to lose gloss after snubbing Pakistan stars, warns Akram

KARACHI: Legendary fast bowler Wasim Akram has warned that the Indian Premier league (IPL) will lose its gloss after ignoring Pakistani cricketers, most of whom are counted among the best in the slam-bang version of the game.
In a candid chit-chat with reporters on the sidelines of a match featuring special children here at the PIA Academy on Wednesday, the former Pakistan captain also took a swipe at the national cricket authorities over their failure to get IPL berths for Pakistani players.
But Akram mostly focused on how the IPL – a cash-rich Twenty20 league – has scored an own goal by snubbing Pakistani stalwarts for the second year running.
“There is little doubt about the popularity of Pakistani cricketers in Twenty20 cricket,” said Akram regarded among the greatest fast bowlers of all time. “That is why I believe that the IPL will certainly miss exciting players like Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq,” he added.
Pakistan have featured in three finals of the four ICC World Twenty20 championships held so far and are considered to be a major force in the shortest format of the game.
But IPL officials have shown little interest in them.
Pakistan’s cricket stars were not included in the auction of 416 players for next year's edition of the IPL. The auction will take place in Bangalore on January 8-9.
Although Pakistani cricketers took part in the inaugural IPL in 2008, they were forced out in 2009 due to security concerns in the wake of the Mumbai attacks and were ignored for this season's Twenty20 event.
IPL organizers have declared that Pakistan’s cricket authorities didn’t inform them whether any of their players were interested in the featuring in the league.
However, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has claimed that the IPL organizers never kept them in the loop.
Akram lamented that a lack of communication between the PCB and IPL organizers has deprived Pakistan’s players of an excellent platform to exhibit their skills. But he also stressed that apart from that, PCB’s incompetence also played a role in creating this issue.
“There was obviously a lack of communication but PCB should have initiated and pushed for the inclusion of its players in the event.
Their failure shows a lack of vision among the board officials.” Speaking on a different issue, Akram threw his weight behind the idea of forming a players’ body in Pakistan. The idea of a cricketers’ association has gained momentum after Aamer Bashir – a first-class stalwart – died of cancer earlier this week at the age of 38.
“There must be an association for welfare of our cricketers especially the former ones. I have sympathies with Aamer’s family. I played first-class cricket with him and he was an excellent player.” Akram also had a word of advice for Mohammad Yousuf, the former Pakistan captain who was axed from the team because of fitness issues.
Yousuf claims that he is fit and has rapped Pakistan’s selectors for overlooking him for the ongoing tour of New Zealand.
Akram said that instead of criticizing the selectors, Yousuf should prove his form and fitness.
“Yousuf is claiming that he is fit but the thing is that he has to prove it in front of the selectors. He is a fabulous batsman and can still serve the country.”
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