Indian Premier League will lose substantial fan-base if Pakistani cricketers are not able to participate in the Twenty20 event next year following the Mumbai terror strikes, senior batsman Younis Khan said.
“The franchises running teams in the IPL know that Indian and Pakistani players are the biggest attractions in the league,” Younis, who returned home after playing for South Australia in the Sheffield Shield, said.
“The league touched new heights in popularity when Shoaib Akhtar played his first match for the Kolkata Knight Riders as the Eden Gardens was jam-packed. Indian people like to watch Pakistani players in action and they are popular there as well,” he added.
Younis, who played just one match for the Rajasthan Royals, the eventual champions, hoped the India-Pakistan relations would improve before the start of the new season in April.
“I think it is premature to think about our participation in the IPL,” he added.
Younis said he was disappointed at the cancellation of the Indian team’s tour to Pakistan as he believed politics and sports should not be mixed.
“I think this way but there are situations where one has to look at the larger picture. But definitely if India had come it would have been a boost for Pakistan cricket and would have allowed the board to generate good revenues,” he said.
Younis said it was important that India’s replacement Sri Lanka toured Pakistan now.
“I am worried… if Sri Lanka also don’t come then the future of cricket would be in danger in Pakistan,” he said.