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We no more miss IPL: Pak Players

Lahore: As big-bitting Shahid Afridi emerged as the costliest player in the auction of the soon-to-be-launched Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), Pakistani players feel they no more suffer due to the IPL snub.

Afridi fetched a selling price of USD 700,000 while the Caribbean marauder Chris Gayle was sold for USD 551,100.

Pakistan`s discarded wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal said by not allowing them to play in India, it is IPL which is suffering.

"I don`t think we are suffering because the IPL doesn`t want us. By not playing, us the IPL is missing out on crowd pullers because I know for a fact that Indian crowds love to watch Pakistani players in action," Akmal said.

Pakistani players have not played in IPL since the 2009 Mumbai terror attacks.

He stressed that Pakistani players were in high demand in all other countries where domestic T20 leagues were being organized.

"Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Rana Naved, Umar (Akmal), Umar Gul, Saeed (Ajmal) and many others have got frequent offers to play in these leagues," he said.

Afridi, Razzaq and Rana Naved are featuring in the Australian Big Bash T20 event and are also scheduled to take part in the South African T20 tournament. Sohail Tanvir, who featured in the inaugural edition of the IPL for Rajasthan Royals and led them to the title, said he does not missed playing the in the IPL as other opportunities were there.

"Last year in England itself many of our players went to play in the T20 event. I have had to make choices because of fitness issues last year," he said.

Tanvir and former captain Shoaib Malik are among the Pakistani players who are lined up to take part in the Bangladesh Premier League next month.

A PCB official said Afridi appeared to be the biggest crowd puller in foreign leagues and is getting paid handsomely for it.

"I think his decision to not play Test cricket and focus on limited over games was a wise one in the long run because he has now become a professional specialist for this format," the official said.

PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf said the Board was working on plans to hold its own Pakistan Premier League soon.

"We are aware of the popularity of these leagues and the finances they bring in for boards but even otherwise we need to hold our own league in order to bring back international cricket to Pakistan," he said.

But former captain Javed Miandad believes that the increasing influx of T20 cricket leagues would not be good for the game in the long run.

"I have always said T20 cricket is hit and miss cricket. I just hope players don`t end up focusing too much of their energies on T20 leagues," he said.