Karachi: Former Pakistan captain and pace legend Wasim Akram has requested the Indian cricket board (BCCI) to allow Pakistani players to participate in the cash-rich Indian Premier League. Akram said that Pakistani players would only help add color to the Twenty20 tournament.
"I have always been a great believer that sports and politics should be kept apart and if our players take part in the IPL it will only raise the bar of the event," said Akram, who was the bowling consultant of current IP champions Kolkata Knight Riders.
Pakistani cricketers have not been allowed to take part in the lucrative IPL after the first edition due to varied reasons but mainly because of the diplomatic tensions between the two countries. Although Pakistani umpires, commentators and coaches will feature in the ongoing sixth edition of the IPL but no cricketer has been invited for the event.
Akram feels that since Pakistani bowlers are better than India's, it will only benefit the IPL. Although Pakistan team toured India for a short ODI series in December last year but the BCCI still didn't clear the way for the players from the neighbouring country to participate in the IPL. Last year the BCCI, however, for the first time allowed a Pakistani team to take part in the Champions League Twenty20 held in South Africa.
Akram also confirmed that he had signed an agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board and as per the contract he would help in producing more pace bowlers for the country. Akram has also entered into a partnership with a leading cellular company, Ufone to hold trials and search for raw pacers throughout the country. But he said he will be holding a 10-day specialised camp for the Pakistan team pacers and upcoming youngsters performing in domestic cricket in Karachi later this month.
"I am happy that now I will be able to play some role in Pakistan cricket because I want to give back what Pakistan cricket has given me. I want young bowlers to take advantage of my expertise and experience," Akram said.
The former captain also said that he would be working in tandem with the national team bowling coach Muhammad Akram during Pakistan's training camp in Abbotabad ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy in England in June.