Nasser Hussain — a former England captain has expressed his desire to see Pakistan cricketers including the limited-overs captain, Babar Azam to feature in upcoming IPLs. Political tensions across the border and grave diplomatic Indo-Pak relations have seen none of the Pakistan players featuring in IPL except the inaugural edition way back in 2008.
The inaugural 2008 Indian Premier League had witnessed a lot of Pakistani cricketers including the likes of Rawalpindi Express — Shoaib Akhtar taking part for Kolkata Knight Riders, while Misbah-ul-Haq played for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Shahid Afridi turned out for now-defunct Deccan Chargers while pacer Sohail Tanvir turned up in Rajasthan Royals colours.
Nasser Hussain: India-Pakistan Not Playing Each Other Is A Great Loss For Cricket
Nasser Hussain has emphasised the impact of IPL and termed IPL as an important platform to showcase talent. But cricketers from Pakistan should be allowed to take active participation despite political tensions in IPL according to him. The arch-rivals have last featured in a bilateral series in 2012 and have faced only in World Cups, Asia Cups and Champions Trophy.
“I don’t want to get into the politics of it but India and Pakistan not playing each other is like the Premier League with Manchester City not playing Manchester United, or Everton-Liverpool or Spurs and Arsenal,” Nasser Hussain commented.
India have never lost to Pakistan in the world cup either in T20I or ODI even though Pakistan have more wins between the sides in both tests and one-dayers. India and Pakistan matches are watched with bated breath and the arch-rivals have not been involved in bilateral series since 2012.
Pakistan had last hosted India in the years 2004 and 2006 after a long break since 1989 mainly due to Kargil War in 1999. The bus attack in a touring Sri Lankan bus meant that future tours to Pakistan are in jeopardy. India had last played a test against them in 2007 in India and a short ODI and T20I series happened in 2012.
Nasser Hussain: Babar Azam Should Have Been There In IPL 2020
The top-ranked T20I batsman Babar Azam could massively benefit by playing in Indian Premier League which is going to be held in the Emirates in September 2020. Babar Azam has an average of over 50 in T20I. He top-scored in Natwest T20 Blast in 2019 amassing 578 runs averaging 52.5 and had a strike rate of nearly 150.
Babar Azam has played only 27 tests,74 one-dayers and 38 t20is but has averaged 44.74,54.17 and 50.72 respectively meaning that cricket fanatics rate him as one of the finest batsmen in contemporary cricket besides being the only player to be among the top five ICC rankings across all formats in 2020.
“It’s the Pakistani players not being in the IPL. The IPL will start soon and Babar Azam won’t be there. He’s a phenomenal player and he should be there,” Hussain was quoted as saying.
The former cricketer turned commentator has praised Babar Azam who according to him is one of the premier batsmen alongside the ranks of Joe Root, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson.
“They keep going on about the ‘Fab Four (Kohli, Australia’s Steve Smith, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and England captain Joe Root) — it’s the ‘Fab Five’ and Babar Azam is in that,” Hussain claimed.
IPL 2020 will be held in the UAE and will start on September 19 and conclude on November 10. The whole edition will take place in UAE unlike 2014 which was jointly hosted by India and UAE. Due to elections, IPL was held in South Africa in 2009 and partly in Emirates in 2014.
However, this time it will be held abroad due to the coronavirus covid-19 pandemic which has taken thousands of lives across the globe leading to postponement and cancellations of various international sporting events.
Due to strict restrictions in many states of India and lockdowns imposed in various parts of the country has prompted BCCI India’s cricket board to conduct IPL abroad in UAE.