Former Indian, Australia cricketers vouch for Pakistani stars as top IPL picks

Unfortunately, Pakistan and India do not trade cricketers in each others' cricket leagues due to soured ties

Sports Desk
June 03, 2023
A collage of Pakistani cricketers Shaheen Shah Afridi (left), Babar Azam (centre) and Mohammad Rizwan. — AFP/File
A collage of Pakistani cricketers Shaheen Shah Afridi (left), Babar Azam (centre) and Mohammad Rizwan. — AFP/File

Pakistani star players including skipper Babar Azam, paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi and opener Mohammad Rizwan and others have been named by former Indian and Australian cricketers, as potential top picks for the Indian Premier League (IPL) "in a perfect world".

The strained relations between Pakistan and India has forced the two sides to suspend bilateral cricket completely. The arch-rivals only face each other in multi-team events, and they also do not trade cricketers in each others' league cricket tournaments, Pakistan Super League (PSL) and IPL.

A report published by India Today stated that Pakistani pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi, who is a two-times champion at the PSL and currently featuring Nottinghamshire in the T20 Blast, would be a "box office" deal if roped in by any franchise part of the IPL, as per Tom Moody.

The veteran Australian cricketer, who worked as the head coach of IPL's Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), said that a number of Pakistani cricketers including skipper Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Shadab Khan had the potential to attract lucrative deals to become part of the IPL.

“Shaheen Afridi, Babar Azam, Rizwan and Shadab Khan. They have got a number of terrific players, particularly in this format of the game. Shaheen would be your No.1 pick, he would be box office,” Moody was quoted as saying to ESPNcricinfo.

Meanwhile, Sanjay Manjrekar believes that IPL teams should also opt for Pakistani paceman Haris Rauf for his bowling skills as he is an effective player to bowl the death overs.

“One of the best death bowlers, Haris Rauf,” Manjrekar said.

He also vouched for Pakistani power-hitter Fakhar Zaman to be a valuable addition to IPL.

“I think about their bowlers more than their batters. But Fakhar Zaman would be an interesting choice in certain teams,” Manjrekar said.

The former cricketer was of the view that Rizwan was a player who colu

Moreover, Manjrekar said that Mohammad Rizwan when paired with Babar could be lethal to the opponents while batting.

“Rizwan is somebody who plays the anchor’s role. Sometimes, I tend to get worried when Babar and Rizwan bat together,” he added.

Several Pakistani cricketers including Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Akhtar and Kamran Akmal have played in the IPL inaugural season but due to strained ties between Islamabad and New Delhi, no player has gone to play in the league since 2009.