Cape Town - Speaking from Karachi, ICC president Zaheer Abbas has called for an end to the enforced absence of Pakistani players from the IPL, and the resumption of bilateral tours between India and Pakistan.
The IPL has grown to become a global phenomenon since its inception in 2008. The inaugural tournament saw players from all over the globe, including Pakistan, feature alongside India’s domestic elite, but after the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, the BCCI imposed a ban on Pakistani stars featuring in the IPL.
Speaking to a media gathering in Karachi, Abbas has said that Pakistani stars should be included in the IPL, as it would “raise the importance and status of the league."
Pakistan launched their own T20 tournament, the Pakistan Super League, earlier this year, attracting a number of international stars, but the tournament is yet to rival the viewership or prestige of the IPL.
Abbas will attend the IPL Final as part of his duties as ICC president, and has also called for the resumption of bilateral tours between the India and Pakistan.
"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," he said.
There is no denying that clashes between India and Pakistan will attract massive TV audiences, generating enormous interest in the game from all over the globe, but both sides have serious security concerns, and will need to get the go-ahead from their respective governments before any tour could go ahead.
The only bilateral tour between India and Pakistan since 2007 was Pakistan’s brief stop-over in 2012/13, when the two sides met for three ODIs and two T20Is.