Pakistan, having completed a convincing ODI-series win in India, are set to take on the mighty South Africans in what promises to be a grueling Test and limited-overs tour.
But while the focus of the Pakistani cricketers and fans alike has been on Graeme Smith’s men, various reports say that the top T20 stars from the country may yet again face an IPL blackout.
Gautam Bhattacharyya, writing for Gulf News, said: “What may have escaped the notice of cricket fans is the U-turn of Indian cricket board on the issue of allowing Pakistani players to take part in the IPL after a gap of four years.
“It was in the last week of December that the IPL governing council quietly issued a diktat to all the franchises not to go for players from Pakistan — despite earlier verbal assurances from the IPL chairman and positive vibes in the wake of the BCCI allowing Sialkot Stallions from that country to take part in the Champions League T-20.”
According to Bhattacharyya, the decision was taken well in advance of Pakistan’s tour to India and certainly did not come as a result of the fallout between the two countries over recent border tensions.
The subtle move by the governing council of the IPL, it seems, drowned in the anticipation of the Pakistan-India series that was played in front of jam-packed stadiums and kept fans transfixed.
There is no doubt that players like Junaid Khan, Nasir Jamshed, Saeed Ajmal and even Mohammad Irfan would offer greater pull for Indian crowds after their performance in that series but according to Times of India they have so far not been included in the auction list.
“There is no problem buying Pakistan cricketers in the auction, but somehow there was no move from anywhere to include them for the auction,” a franchisee owner told Times of India.
An official decision on the inclusion of Pakistan players is yet to be taken by the BCCI and with the auction set to take place on February 3, 2013, in Chennai, their fate hangs in the balance.
At present, Pakistan’s top cricketers will be focused on tackling Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn and company, but they will be keeping one eye on developments in India after having been barred from the Bangladesh Premier League.