Shoaib Malik expresses desire to continue playing in IPL

Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik on Sunday expressed his desire to continue playing in the Indian soil despite strained relations between the two nations after India cancelled their tour to the neighbouring country following Mumbai terror attacks.

However, Malik, who plays for Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League, said although he and other Pakistani players have contractual agreement with the Indian Premier League, they will abide by government’s advice on the matter.

“As professional players our wish is that we can continue playing in the IPL. But to be honest they are many things beyond our control,” Malik said.

“We as players wouldn’t like to do anything that would put us in breach of our contracts. But obviously if there is a government policy decision then I can’t comment,” added the right-handed batsman, who along with other Pakistani cricketers have signed three-year contract with different franchise teams of the IPL, the second season of which is scheduled for April next year.

Malik’s statement came after tension rose between the two cricket playing nations following India’s decision to shun their next month’s tour to Pakistan.

Criticising India’s decision, former Pakistani players have called the Pakistan Cricket Board not to allow its players to feature in next edition of the IPL and rebel Indian Cricket League as a retaliatory measure.

Around a dozen Pakistani cricketers are signed up for different teams in the IPL, while around 18 players play in the ICL.

The Pakistan skipper also expressed disappointment over India’s decision to cancel the tour, but said players have very little to do when decisions are made at government level.

“India has been playing at an optimum level and we were looking forward to the series. It would have been an exciting series for everyone and a boost for cricket in general.

“But the players can’t do anything when things are done at a government level. We now have to start preparing for the series against Sri Lanka which should also be a tough one for sure,” he said.

However, Sri Lanka gave some respite to Pakistan, who did not play a single Test this year, after accepting Pakistan Cricket Board’s invitation to replace India next month.

Focusing on the upcoming series against Sri Lanka, Malik said the island nation’s strength lay in their spin department, headed by Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis.

“We have played a lot against Murli and know his bowling style well. But we played just one match against Mendis in the Asia Cup and we definitely need to study his videos and work out his bowling tricks,” he said.

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