Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram believes the Indian Premier league (IPL) will lose its gloss after ignoring Pakistani cricketers, most of whom he stressed are counted among the best in the shorter version of the game.
Speaking on the sidelines of a match featuring special children here at the PIA Academy on Wednesday, the legendary pacer also took a swipe at the national cricket authorities over their failure to get IPL berths for the players.
It is for the second successive year that the Pakistani cricketers have been sidelined for the cash-rich Twenty20 league.
"There is little doubt about the popularity of Pakistani cricketers in Twenty20 cricket," said Akram, regarded among the greatest fast bowlers of all time. "That is why I believe that the IPL will certainly miss exciting players like Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq."
Pakistan has featured in two finals of the three ICC World Twenty20 championships held so far and are considered to be a major force in the shortest format of the game.
But IPL officials have shown little interest in Pakistani players.
Pakistan's cricket stars were not included in the auction of 416 players for 2011's edition of the IPL. The auction will take place in Bangalore Jan 8-9.
Although Pakistani cricketers took part in the inaugural IPL in 2008, they were forced out in 2009 due to security concerns in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks and were ignored for this season's Twenty20 event.
IPL organisers have declared that Pakistan’s cricket authorities didn’t inform them whether any of their players were interested in the featuring in the league.
However, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has claimed that the IPL organisers never kept them in the loop.
Akram lamented that a lack of communication between the PCB and IPL organisers has deprived Pakistan's players of an excellent platform to exhibit their skills.
"There was obviously a lack of communication but PCB should have initiated and pushed for the inclusion of its players in the event. Their failure shows a lack of vision among the board officials."
Speaking on a different issue, Akram threw his weight behind the idea of forming a players’ committee in Pakistan. The idea of a cricketers’ association has gained momentum after Aamer Bashir - a first-class stalwart - died of cancer earlier this week at the age of 38.
Akram also had a word of advice for Mohammad Yousuf, the former Pakistan captain who was axed from the team because of fitness issues.
Yousuf claims that he is fit and has rapped Pakistan’s selectors for overlooking him for the ongoing tour of New Zealand. Akram said that instead of criticising the selectors, Yousuf should prove his form and fitness on field.