Pakistan cricket was handed a blow after it was once again denied representation in the latest edition of the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) tournament to be held in India from September 23.
Pakistan have not had their team participating in the tournament ever since it started in 2008, making it the only Test-playing nation, other than Bangladesh to not have a representative in the league. Sialkot Stallions were invited to take part in the inaugural event, but the Mumbai attacks scuppered any chances of their inclusion.
Pakistan’s representation in Board of Control for Cricket in India-organised events has always remained uncertain, with the country’s players being ignored for the Indian Premier League auction in 2010, despite the team enjoying the status of world champions at the time. Discarded wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal expressed his disappointment at the latest development.
“As a player, I find it very unfortunate that out country will be missing from action in the Champions League,” said Akmal. “I’ve no idea why Pakistani teams aren’t included but it’s up to the board to deal with this issue and ensure that our top Twenty20 team takes part in the event.”
Pakistan Cricket Board officials remained reluctant to comment on the latest development.
Meanwhile, the 2011 CLT20 will be featuring 10 teams and will follow the same format as last year’s event. Before the tournament kicks off, however, a six-team qualifying tournament will be played to decide the final three teams that qualify for the main event. With six sides in the qualifying tournament and another seven already confirmed as participants in the league, a record 13 teams will have a chance to claim the most prestigious prize in domestic Twenty20 cricket.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2011.