Zaheer Abbas says Pakistan players would “raise status of IPL”

ICC President Zaheer Abbas on Tuesday said that he would ask the BCCI to consider including Pakistan players in the IPL when he comes visiting for the IPL final on Sunday. The ex-Pakistan batsman also said that IPL would stand to gain in importance and stature by including the Pakistan players.

Speaking to the media in Lahore, Abbas remarked that it would “raise the importance and status of the league” if the IPL took on players from the neighboring country. Abbas said that he would discuss the proposition in detail when he visits Bengaluru for the IPL final on Sunday at the Chinnaswamy stadium.

While Pakistan players took part in the inaugural edition of the IPL, back in 2008, they have since not been a part of the yearly event after the BCCI banned them in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

"Abbas also called for the revival of bilateral cricketing ties between the two countries. India had refused to engage the neighbor 5 years back after relations between the two nations deteriorated. Despite the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) push for a revival in the recent past, India has stood firm refusing to travel to the neighboring country for a series as inked in the MoU between the two. The BCCI has instead insisted on a neutral venue which has tanked the negotiations so far," says a report in Indian Today.

"I have accepted the invitation (to watch the IPL final) and it is a good opportunity for me to again highlight the importance of resuming bilateral cricket ties although they are obviously subject to government clearances," Abbas said, according to a report in The Indian Express.

The countries last played a bilateral series when the Pakistan team toured India in 2012-13.

Abbas said that an Indo-Pak duel is one of the most-watched cricket contests in the world, and that everyone wants to see the two neighbors lock horns again.

"I think any government hurdles in the way of having a bilateral series should be removed," he added.