11 big Pakistani stars who played in the IPL
10 big Pakistani stars who played in the IPL (from clockwise, top left): Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Sohail Tanvir, Shoaib Malik, Shoaib Akhtar, Salman Butt, Younis Khan, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Hafeez and Umar Gul

The Indian Premier League (IPL) brings together the best cricketers from all parts of the globe. However, the Pakistani stars are missing in action. However, way back in 2008, they did make an appearance in the IPL. Nishad Pai Vaidya looks back in time to name 10 big stars who played in IPL.

1. Shahid Afridi (Deccan Chargers)

Shahid Afridi would be a hot property even if he is up for grabs in the IPL auction today. The Pakistani dasher played for the Deccan Chargers in the first season and did not have a very successful time. While his bowling was still stable, his batting left a lot to be desired as he continued to play in his trademark mindless fashion. Afridi’s exit from Deccan left a bad taste in the mouth as he had a public war of words with VVS Laxman in 2008. (Related stories: Shahid Afridi: An entertainer, a maverick and an enigma)

2. Sohail Tanvir (Rajasthan Royals)

The wrong-footed left-armer was quite a sensation in the inaugural season with 22 wickets in 11 matches. The first Purple Cap winner was one major weapon in Shane Warne’s armoury as Rajasthan Royals went on to win the IPL that year. Tanvir had been magnificent as his probing line caused quite a few problems. The fact that he could not play in the IPL again was quite sad.

3. Shoaib Akhtar (Kolkata Knight Riders)

The mercurial pacer is one of the most popular Pakistan cricketers in India. With his speed, he added thrill to the game and was picked by the Kolkata Knight Riders amidst some controversy. Akhtar was banned for five years by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) from representing them. In the first season, he announced himself with a pacy spell against the Delhi Daredevils, which won Kolkata the game.

4. Shoaib Malik (Delhi Daredevils)

Shoaib Malik was the Pakistan captain at the time of his selection in the IPL. However, he could not find a permanent spot in the Delhi side as they had a strong battery of overseas players. With Tillakaratne Dilshan, AB de Villiers, Daniel Vettori, Glenn McGrath and Mohammed Asif in the ranks, Malik was pushed into the background.

5. Mohammad Hafeez (Kolkata Knight Riders)

Mohammad Hafeez is an asset to any T20 side and has shown that by being a part of numerous T20 leagues around the world. Kolkata had picked him for his ability to bat at the top and bowl crucial off-spinners. At the time, he had just lost his spot in the Pakistan team and had he continued in the IPL, he may have reclaimed it earlier.

6. Salman Butt (Kolkata Knight Riders)

Salman Butt was picked by the Kolkata Knight Riders for the first season of the IPL. He got his chance when Ricky Ponting, Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum left for national duty. In Butt and Ganguly at the top, Kolkata probablyhad the most attractive pair of openers that season.

7. Mohammad Asif (Delhi Daredevils)

Asif’s off-field issues have often taken precedence over his feats on the field. However, that doesn’t take away the fact that he was a magnificent bowler. In the Delhi unit, he formed a good nagging partnership with McGrath for the new ball. This stint too ended in controversy as he was found guilty of doping.

8. Misbah-ul-Haq (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

Misbah-ul-Haq isn’t known for his hitting ability, but those who have followed his game know that he can turn it on quite well. The fact that he shares the record for the fastest Test ton with Viv Richards is proof of that. In 2008, Royal Challengers Bangalore picked Misbah after his remarkable feats in the ICC World T20 2007. He had a forgettable time in the IPL though, getting hit-wicket in one of the games.

9. Kamran Akmal (Rajasthan Royals)

Kamran Akmal was an important part of the Rajasthan Royals. Back then, his wicketkeeping was still reliable and was one of Rajasthan’s main internationals. He only got a chance when some other international was unavailable, but played in the final.

10. Younis Khan (Rajasthan Royals)

The great Pakistan batsman was picked by Rajasthan but spent the whole season on the bench apart from one game when they decided to rest a few frontline players. Younis isn’t renowned for his batting in T20 cricket, but led Pakistan to the ICC World T20 title a year later.

11. Umar Gul (Kolkata Knight Riders)

Another Pakistani recruit for Kolkata. Umar Gul has been amongst the best bowlers in T20 cricket. Had fitness issues not marred his progress, he could have been a bigger figure in the game. He played a few games for Kolkata in the IPL 2008 and signed off in style by winning them the last league game against Kings XI Punjab. He took four wickets and then hit a quickfire 24 in the slog overs to help them chase down 175.

Special mention – Azhar Mahmood, the former Pakistan international, continues to be a part of the IPL by virtue of his British passport. Imran Tahir, now a South Africa international, has represented Pakistan A and Pakistan under-19 in the past.


More stories by this writer:

13 Indian players whose IPL performances got them a place in the national team

11 blunders by franchisees in IPL history

12 Australians who first played IPL before representing their country



(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45. The above article was first published in CricketCountry)