New Delhi:Politics and Sport should never be mixed, but when it comes to India and Pakistan it's sometimes hard to keep the two apart. The political fall out has already seen India cancel its tour to Pakistan. This fallout could affect the Indian Premier League as well. There is no official word as yet, but the Pakistani players may not take part in the second edition of the League in April next year.
Pakistani players like Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Asif, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi were undoubtedly some of the stars of the inaugural season of the DLF Indian Premier League. Tanvir, in particular, contributed heavily in Rajasthan Royals's march to title win. But after the political fall out of the Mumbai terror attacks, the question is will the eleven Pakistani players return for the 2009 edition?
Amrit Mathur, vice-president of GMR group that owns Delhi Daredevils, feels these are just speculations.
"Well it's difficult to say at the moment and I think it's only speculation, but we have two key players who are from Pakistan in our team, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Asif and we are looking forward to their participation in the IPL," Mathur said.
The second player auction on the February 6 next year will also be a good indicator of whether the Pakistan players will want to play in the IPL. But teams believe the dressing room atmosphere will not be dramatically affected by the relations between the two countries.
"I don't foresee any problems because as far as the players are concerned, they play as a unit and their is a very happy dressing room and the relationship between the players has been outstanding not only in Delhi but everywhere and that's traditionally been the case with all Indian and Pakistani players, that even in the times of extreme stress they have worked very well with each other," Mathur added.
In addition to the strained cross border relations, the global economic meltdown is also making some advertisers cut their budgets for 2009 as well which is a sure worry for its organizers.
"Some of the money from other kind of entertainment events which some brands have kept will obviously be pushed towards the IPL because the IPL is also going to be the most important thing in the window for entertainment and for sports next year. So I don't really see what I would think if their is an effect at all, it would be that the appreciational values year in year might get partially affected," Venu Nair, CEO of SONY South Asia said.
The inaugural Champions League has already been a casualty of the Mumbai attacks. Yet, a lot of hope will be pinned on the second edition of the IPL. Given the astounding success of the first, next year will test just how strong the fundamentals of the tournament truly are!