‘Pakistan cricketers should cut ties with Indian leagues’


Karachi : Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif Monday urged leading national cricketers to cut off ties with cash-rich Twenty20 Indian leagues following Indian claims about Pakistan’s alleged involvement in the Mumbai killings.

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Latif, an outspoken former Pakistan Test wicket-keeper, said that a number of leading Pakistani cricketers who are linked to the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL) should immediately cancel their contracts.

“It’s important for a cricketer to play professional cricket but there are times when the country should come first,” said Latif, who blew the whistle on the match-fixing scandal that rocked Pakistan cricket in the nineties.

A number of top Pakistan cricketers including skipper Shoaib Malik, Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Sohail Tanvir and Umar Gul are contracted to play for the IPL that is run by the Indian cricket board.

Almost 20 Pakistani cricketers including former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, openers Imran Nazir and Imran Farhat and pacers Mohammad Sami and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan are a part of the rebel ICL that is owned by Indian billionaire Subhash Chandra.

A few Pakistan cricketers including Sohail Tanvir, wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal and senior batsman Younis Khan are a part of the Rajasthan Royals which won the inaugural IPL season and was scheduled to feature in the Champions League Twenty20 event that was supposed to take place in India from Dec 3-10 but was postponed in the wake of the mayhem in Mumbai.

Latif said these cricketers should tell their respective leagues that they cannot play for them till the time the political situation between the two countries normalise.

Almost 200 people were killed in terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The Indian authorities raised the finger of suspicion against Pakistan, which has denied any involvement in the attacks. Latif said he hopes the two governments will resolve their differences for the betterment of the peoples on both sides of the border.