With the tension in India-Pakistan relations showing no signs of easing, pacer Sohail Tanvir said the cricketers here are mentally prepared to sit out of the Indian Premier League next year.
“Even if I don’t get to play in the IPL next season, I don’t think it would be a big setback for me or my career. There are a lot of other opportunities to play cricket in other countries,” Tanvir said before leaving for Australia to play in a domestic twenty20 tournament for South Australia.
Tanvir was one of the stars of the first season of the IPL emerging as the highest wicket-taker in the tournament and helping his team, Rajasthan Royals, led by Shane Warne, win the title.
Pakistani players may not get the clearance from their board and government to go to India or even be entertained by the IPL organisers for the season starting April.
“There is some time left before the season starts things can improve. But if they don’t I have other options to look at like playing in England or some other country,” Tanvir said.
He said he put country before everything else and if the players were told not to play in the IPL he would have no problems.
“The interest of the country is paramount. Cricket comes later. As it is playing for Pakistan is far more important for me then any other cricket,” he said.
“Nothing can replace the feeling of nationalism one feels when representing your country.”
Tanvir said while he had thoroughly enjoyed playing for Rajasthan in the IPL debut season but the IPL was not the be all and end all for him.
“I am in a learning stage and I think playing outside the subcontinent is very important for me in my learning process. That is why I am looking forward to my stint with South Australia,” he said.
The left-arm pacer said he was not worried about the financial repercussions of not being able to play in the IPL as he had full confidence in the Pakistan cricket Board.
“The board is already looking after our financial interests properly so for me missing the IPL is not a big deal,” he said.
But Tanvir hoped relations between the two countries improve soon as bilateral cricket contests between the two nations were very significant for survival of Test cricket.