Pak players may play in IPL

The beleaguered Pakistan players got a much needed boost when it was speculated that they may get a chance to feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season as at least one of the franchises is keen to have them playing.

Sources close to the players say at least four Pakistani players including Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Misbah-ul-Haq and Kamran Akmal could be in line to play for their old franchises in the IPL.

"Since the IPL is now not being held in India the franchises are thinking about asking for permission from the organisers to bring back their Pakistani players on board for the tournament," one source said.

The source said Kolkatta Knight Riders was one team that had already indicated it wanted pace bowler Umar Gul back while Rajasthan Royals were also eyeing all-rounder Sohail.

But with the IPL being shifted abroad, even the Pakistan cricket Board has said it would speak to the government and Indian board to find out if Pakistani players can take part in the lucrative competition now.

PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt has said he would find out whether their players are still required to play in the IPL after its relocation from India.

"I will be talking to the Indian board president and also our government," "I am sure some of the players would now like to play in the IPL if possible. If some players are interested in playing in the IPL and if their commitments don't clash with our national team commitments I will talk to the relevant authorities.

"If we get a chance to play why not after all it is a big tournament and there is good money involved. And since it is now not being held in India, I don't see any reason why we should not be allowed to play in the IPL," one senior player said.

Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar also told a cricket website in an interview that he was hopeful the Pakistanis could get a last minute call up despite the franchises having full players roosters and the commitment of the Pakistan team against Australia from April 22.

"For me, it is not over till it's over. I haven't given up. It's up to the franchises. If they call upon my services, I will provide them," he told the website.

"We do not have great circumstances with India at the moment. The situation between us is not crictical anymore, and hopefully it will get better in the coming months. It is a shame for the Indian fans that the tournament will not be played in India, but I think it is a good thing that it is still happening. London is like a second home to us. We would be very comfortable playing there. It would be great if that happened, but for now I am preparing to play against Australia in the ODIs next month and take wickets for my country."

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