Pakistan's cricket chief gave new hope that his nation's players will compete in the 2010 Indian Premier League, saying on Thursday that there was a chance of extending the deadline for visa applications.
Pakistan players looked to have missed out on the upcoming edition of the lucrative Twenty20 league because a visa deadline had passed on Monday while their applications were still being processed. However Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt said that deadline may be put back yet again, after two previous extensions. "Give us a day or two and everything will be settled down," Butt told AP.
"I can only say this much at the moment, that we are hopeful of Pakistan players' participation in next year's IPL." The Indian High Commission in Islamabad said the visa applications of four Pakistan cricketers were being processed. Three of them were being processed in New Zealand, where the Pakistan team is currently on tour. Those were thought to be Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Gul and Kamran Akmal. The other being processed in Pakistan is Sohail Tanvir.
The High Commission said in a media release it was never advised about any deadlines for issuing visas to Pakistan players, either by the IPL organizing committee or the PCB.
The PCB has already got the required clearance from the national government for its players to compete in the third edition of IPL. In the inaugural IPL season of 2008, 11 Pakistan players took part, but they were banned from the 2009 competition following the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Contracts were annulled or suspended, and remained so, even after the competition was moved to South Africa. Five Pakistan cricketers _ Abdul Razzaq, Gul, ul-Haq, Akmal and Tanvir _ hold contracts with various IPL franchises. However, should Pakistan players be allowed to return in 2010, there was expected to be a clamour among IPL franchises to sign contracts with players from the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup winning team.
Pakistan Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi, young batting sensation Umar Akmal and paceman Mohammad Asif would be among those in demand.