KARACHI: With none of their stars featuring in Indian Premier League after the first edition, the once sensational league now lacks sheen, at least for Pakistani cricket fans.
“By barring Pakistani cricketers from playing in IPL, the Indian cricket board has shown that it lacks internationalism. If Pakistani players are barred from playing in the cricket event of IPL, than it lacks the gloss of an international event, which features sportsmen from across the world. Certainly, without Pakistani cricketers in its fold, it couldn’t have a wholesome picture of an international event,” said Dr Imtiaz Subhani, who heads Iqra University’s Research Centre (IURC).
Dr Subhani informed PPI that his research students had found that IPL has lost its viewership roughly by eighty percent as compared to the first edition, which featured Pakistan players and Pakistan pacer Sohail Tanvir took the highest number of wickets while his side, Rajastan Royals, clinched the title.
“I think the other 20% viewership would further certainly be slumped because of the government ban on Geo Super, which is the only Pakistani channel, which broadcasted IPL,” he stressed.
Dr Subhani said that not only has IPL lost its international image but it might have also affected sponsors’ interest in it.
“Sponsors are highly professional and they have to calculate the expected viewership before sponsoring an event and as the viewership increases, their monetary injection for an event increases. So by not having Pakistani players in IPL, they have ignored cricket enthusiastic fans of Pakistan and their subsequent interest in the event, which certainly affect the overall number of IPL viewers to some extent,” Dr Subhani explained.
He further said that although Pakistan players may not be as top-rated in Test or ODI format as Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and India but they have the best T20 team.
He added that the IPL organisers are inflicting a lot of damage to themselves by snubbing the Pakistani players.
“It is very difficult to establish a brand name as the BCCI (Board of Cricket Control in India) did in the first edition of IPL. But by isolating Pakistani players, they are injuring the IPL brand,” he said.