Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Players have no say on inclusion of Pak cricketers in IPL: Mahmood

Mohali: APART from the first edition of the Indian Premier League in 2008, Pakistan players have not appeared in the cash-rich tournament, courtesy the complicated bilateral ties between the two neighbours.

So when Azhar Mahmood was picked up by Kings XI Punjab for $200,000 in the January auction, it was bound to create a buzz.

The 37-year-old all-rounder was in the auction as an English player, but he’s aware that fans will refer to him by his home country.

Currently plying his trade for the English county Kent, one fact that has really impressed Mahmood is the emergence of popular T20 leagues in the sub-continent that attracts the biggest stars. “It feels great to see that the Indian Premier League is such a success."

"Whatever may be the reason, one can’t ignore the fact that the big players are indeed interested in this league,” Mahmood told MAIL TODAY here on Tuesday.

"Even Bangladesh has got an international T20 league which had some big names playing in it. For a senior player like me, it is very satisfying to see the sub-continent getting such importance.” Mahmood was also a part of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) where he represented the Dhaka Gladiators.

As for the Pakistan players, who are deprived of the opportunity to play in the IPL, he feels that players’ opinion is of no use unless officials at the helm are ready to make a move.

“What I think or anyone else thinks about the inclusion of Pakistan players in IPL is of no use. It is up to the officials sitting in the BCCI and the PCB to decide whether they want to change the situation or not,” he said.

Mahmood missed the first four matches of Kings XI Punjab due to visa issues but now that he is finally with the team, the veteran player wants to continue his good form from the BPL and the English domestic T20 tournament.

Mahmood scored a couple of half-centuries and contributed with his bowling too in the BPL. In the English domestic T20 tournament, he finished as the highest run scorer for Kent with 485 runs in 15 matches.

"I have been regularly playing in T20 tournaments and I am in form. I am available for tomorrow’s (Wednesday) match, though I don’t know whether I will be in the starting XI or not,” he said.

“As far as adjusting to the conditions, I am a professional player and these things are normal to me. The experience of playing in the BPL will help me.” 

Mahmood is upbeat about his side’s improved show in the last two matches. “Though Kings XI started the tournament on a disappointing note, the victories in the last two matches has increased the team’s confidence. This is a long tournament and we need to build upon this good work to be in a comfortable position in the league table,” he said. (Mail Today)

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