Players unwilling to tour Pakistan should be banned from PSL: Saeed Ajmal
Saeed Ajmal (AFP Image)

Former players Saeed Ajmal and Faisal Iqbal on Friday said international cricketers, who are unwilling to tour Pakistan with their respective national sides owing to security concerns, should be banned from the Pakistan Super League. Both players expressed disappointment at the pull-out of 10 Sri Lankan players from the forthcoming ODI and T20 series in Karachi and Lahore.

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“I was very hurt when these Sri Lankan players backed out of the tour because the security situation in our country has improved a lot. Our board or government would never ask anyone to play in Pakistan unless they were not sure they could provide the best security environment,” former offspinner spinner Ajmal said on GNews.

Saeed and Faisal both urged the PCB to adopt a stronger stance on teams refusing to tour Pakistan.

“I think those Sri Lankan players or foreigners who can come for the PSL matches should also tour with their national teams. And if anyone refuses to come with their teams, they should not be included in the PSL draft,” Saeed agreed with Faisal’s assertion.

Ajmal, whose international career ended after the ICC questioned his bowling action, said had it been the other way around, there would have been no reluctance from players of Pakistan.

“It hurts because we have had plenty of international cricket and PSL matches in Pakistan in the last two years,” he said. “I was in the Pakistan team when the attack took place but since than things have changed, many international players have come and played in Pakistan. Sri Lankan players have come and played in the PSL. So there was no reason for these 10 Sri Lankan players to back out of the tour.”

The Sri Lankan board on Thursday confirmed that the government had given its go-ahead for the tour from their government and the teams would reach Karachi on September 25. Ajmal and Iqbal however, did not side with former Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi, who had claimed that India pressured Sri Lanka out of the tour.

“I don’t think so the Indians are involved but my point is if it is safe for anyone to play PSL matches in Pakistan than they should also tour with their teams,” Iqbal, who played 26 Tests, said. “I don’t think so but we should always think positively not negatively and we have to ensure full international cricket is restored in Pakistan.”