Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cricket-Pakistan government clears players to take part in IPL

KARACHI, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Pakistan's government has given the go-ahead for the country's players to take part in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) next year, a cricket board spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday.

The ministry of interior had followed the sports and foreign ministries in giving security clearance for players to travel to India for the IPL, said PCB media manager Nadeem Sarwar.

"The sports and foreign ministries had already given their clearance and we were awaiting security clearance from the interior ministry which we have got now," he added.

The PCB had approached the government for clearance to issue Non-Objection Certificates (NOCs) to its players because the government did not permit players to visit India for the second edition of the IPL held in the middle of this year.

Relations between Pakistan and India have been at a low ebb since November, 2008 when Islamist militants killed at least 166 people in a three-day attacks in Mumbai.

The bloodshed led to the Indian government cancelling a test tour to Pakistan set for early 2009 and freezing bilateral cricket ties with their neighbours.

The Pakistan government retaliated by stopping its players going to India on security grounds for the IPL, which was later shifted to South Africa.

"We have been told we can issue NOCs to the players now," Sarwar said. "We had asked for clearance as the IPL has set a deadline of December 7 for our players to submit relevant documents."

About a dozen Pakistani players -- including Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Gul and Sohail Tanvir -- took part in the first edition of the IPL in March-April, 2008 in India.

The third edition of the IPL is scheduled to be held in India in March-April next year.

Pakistan's hockey team is also due to take part in the World Cup in New Delhi early next year.

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