Legends League: Will Pakistan Cricketers Play In India?
New Delhi: It’s been over 10 years since India and Pakistan last played a bilateral series in either country.
The Rohit Sharmas and Virat Kohlis have been confronting Babar Azam’s men in green from time to time, but these have been in multi-nation ICC or ACC tournaments on foreign soul.
Simmering political tensions over issues like Kashmir have ensured that the two neighbours have continued to boycott each other over the last decade, especially in cricket which is akin to religion for people in both countries.
A recent development, however, has set off a buzz about Pakistani cricketers playing on Indian soil after ages.
The second edition of the Legends League Cricket will be held in India from September 20 to October 10. Though the fixtures have not yet been released, the organizers are keen to schedule the matches in six cities.
The League has announced a list of retired players who have conformed they will be part of the tournament. Among the overseas players are three prominent names from Pakistan – Shoaib Akhtar, Misba-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yusuf.
The question obviously arises whether these distinguished former Pakistan cricketers will be allowed to visit India for the League.
Interestingly, the League has roped in former India captain Sourav Ganguly for its second edition. Since he happens to be the BCCI president with Union Home minister Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah being the secretary, it remains to be seen if the Indian Board’s top brass tries to convince the government to change its stance on Pakistan cricketers.
After all, no cricketer from across the border have featured in IPL, the world’s most popular cash-rich T20 league, since 2009.
It’s also interesting to note that most Pakistan cricketers, both former and current, are strong advocates and promoters of the Kashmir Premier League (KPL). The Indian government and BCCI have strongly objected and condemned the organizing of KPL and barred Indian cricketers from playing in it.
The picture will be clearer in the next few weeks.