Pakistan players are not allowed to play in the Indian T20 League due to political tensions between the two neighbouring countries. The players participated in the inaugural season in 2008 but were banned from the next season. Players such as Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Hafeez, Salman Butt, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan, Kamran Akmal, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif, and Misbah Ul Haq played in the league. The likes of Khan, Tanvir, and Akmal played for the inaugural champions Rajasthan.
On the other hand, players such as Butt, Shoaib Akhtar, and Umar Gul played for Kolkata. The rest of the lot such as Shoaib Malik, Asif played for Delhi while Haq played for Bangalore. Later in 2008, the 26/11 terror attacks resulted in strained political relations between India and Pakistan which meant that the players from Pakistan were banned from the league. Meanwhile, Akhtar, who retired from the game in 2011, said that Pakistan skipper Babar Azam will fetch more than 15-20 crores if allowed to play in the Indian T20 League. The Rawalpindi-born bowler added that it would be great to see Virat Kohli and Azam batting together in the cash-rich league.
â€œIn the auction, Babar would go for 15-20 crore. It would be great to see Babar Azam and Virat Kohli playing together in the IPL. How nice it would be if they open the innings in the IPL one day,â€ Akhtar said during an interaction with Sportskeeda.
The likes of Kohli and Azam have repeatedly been compared with each other in the last few years, especially in the Pakistan cricket circles. Both players are modern-day greats.