Afridi believes the loss of Pakistan players will weaken the IPL quality [GALLO/GETTY]
Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi has said that the failure of Pakistan players to secure a visa to next year’s Indian Premier League could be a boost for their Twenty20 World Cup campaign.
Five Pakistan players – Sohail Tanvir, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Umar Gul and Misbah-ul-Haq – had applied unsuccessfully for visas for the lucrative tournament which gets underway in March.
Afridi, who will be leading Pakistan to a title defence of their Twenty20 World Cup title next year in the West Indies, would also have secured a contract from one of the eight IPL franchises had the country’s players been allowed to take part.
However, Afridi believed the IPL’s loss would ultimately be the Pakistan national team’s gain.
“Now that it has been decided that we are not playing (in the IPL) we will have a perfect window to hold a proper camp and get ready for the Twenty20 World Cup,” Afridi told English language daily The News.
Pakistan cricketers will miss out on IPL for second year in a row after they could not obtain the required visa.
In the inaugural IPL season of 2008, 11 Pakistan players took part, but they were banned from the 2009 competition following the Mumbai attacks.
Contracts were annulled or suspended, and remained so, even after the competition was moved to South Africa.
Prior to the visa decision, it was expected that several Pakistan players would be signed to the IPL for 2010, given Pakistan’s impressive showing in winning the Twenty20 World Cup in England this year.
“It would have been good to make our IPL comeback next year but it is now clear that we won’t be able to do that.
“It’s like we can’t do anything about it,” Afridi said.
“The absence of our cricketers will not be good for cricket or the IPL.”
“Pakistan have always been supportive of Indian cricket in the past…I was expecting them (India) to be more positive towards us”
“Pakistan have always been supportive of Indian cricket in the past which is why I was expecting them (India) to be more positive towards us,” Afridi said.
“But it seems that’s not the case. I personally believe that sports promote harmony and it would have been good for both Pakistan and India if our players would have been allowed to play in the IPL.”
The ongoing ban of Pakistan players from the Indian Premier League will undermine the quality of the competition and cost it crowds, players and officials said after the decision.
Dr. Mohammad Ali Shah, member of PCB’s governing board, said the absence of Pakistan players would affect crowds.
“They will lose at least 20 per cent of their gate money because of our players’ absence,” Shah told a talk show on Geo Super television.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said it was beyond its control to obtain Indian visas for its players.
Last week PCB had received clearance from three ministries within the government to send Pakistan players to the IPL.