Former captain Wasim Akram believes that the time is right for Pakistani players to be allowed back into the Indian Premier League as it would help the event connect with more fans in not just the subcontinent but all over the world. (Also read: Indian Premier League 2014, a preview)
Pakistani players have been barred from participating in the IPL since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. They only took part in the first edition of the event but since than have been kept out for different reasons one of them being the political uncertainty between the two countries. (Seen the 'new' CSK jersey?)
"Whenever India and Pakistan players have played either against each other or together, they have attracted lot of crowds and you get plenty of support, especially in this part of the world. I hope in near future Pakistani players will be able to participate because we have great talent," Wasim said in an interview to a Pakistan-based cricket website.
Wasim, who is also the bowling coach of Kolkata Knight Riders, said Pakistani players can add value to any top T20 event.
"Imagine Saeed Ajmal playing. It would have been perfect in these conditions," he said referring to the first leg of IPL matches in the United Arab Emirates.
"Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Shahid Afridi playing would have been huge. This was their home ground, but let's see it's a decision of the cricket boards of both countries has to take. Mixing sports and politics was going to do no good," he said.
The former Pakistan captain also felt that conditions and facilities in the UAE were ideal for IPL and international cricket.
"It feels good to be back and seeing the facilities here I must say it is as good as any ground I have seen around the world. I'm very sure IPL will start off with a bang here. The buzz is already around and my friends were calling and asking for tickets again," said the former pacer.
He said he knew the wickets in the UAE like the back of his hand and his expertise will definitely benefit KKR.
"The conditions are similar and probable better wickets with the ball coming nicely on the bat and it will be good for the T20 format. In T20 cricket, people come for entertainment and it is sixes, fours and wickets that makes it interesting," he said.