How did Pakistan-born Azhar Mahmood manage to get an IPL contract in 2012 despite BCCI banning the country from the tournament?

How did Pakistan-born Azhar Mahmood manage to get an IPL contract in 2012 despite BCCI banning the country from the tournament?

Seems like, Mohammad Amir is also following a similar route.

Azhar Mahmood
Azhar Mahmood (Photo Source: Twitter)

Due to political tensions between India and Pakistan, any Pakistan national hasn’t featured in the Indian Premier League (IPL) since 2009. However, the Indian fans are expecting to see Mohammad Amir playing the lucrative league as the left-arm pacer has quitted Pakistan cricket and shifted to the United Kingdom with his family.

The speedster made the major decision last year following a fallout with the team management and the board. However, Amir is just 29, and a lot of cricket is indeed left in him. Hence, if the star fast bowler gets British citizenship, he’ll be eligible to play in IPL.

Notably, if Amir manages to do so, he’ll not be the first Pakistan cricketer to play in the cash-rich league since 2009. Former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood played three IPL seasons between 2012 and 2015. However, Mahmood became eligible only after attaining the British passport, and subsequently, he entered IPL auctions as an Englishman.

Azhar Mahmood and his IPL story

It happened during the 2012 edition of the gala T20 tournament. Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) bought the veteran all-rounder for a whopping $200,000, double his base price. Mahmood managed to impress in that season, scoring 186 runs and claiming 14 wickets. The Punjab franchise retained him the following season but released him ahead of the mega auctions in 2014. The Pakistan all-rounder missed that season, but the 2015 edition saw KKR buying the Rawalpindi-born cricketer for INR 50 lakhs. However, Mahmood played just one game for Kolkata, in which he went wicketless and scored just six runs.

As a result, KKR released Mahmood after that season, and the all-rounder didn’t feature in IPL after that. Notably, Azhar attained British citizenship after marrying Ebba Qureshi, a British citizen, in 2003. However, he had to wait till 2011 to get a British passport, and only after that; he was allowed to play in IPL. The all-rounder had even expressed his desires to play for England but didn’t get any opportunities. In Pakistan colours, Mahmood scalped 39 and 123 wickets in 21 Tests and 143 ODIs respectively. He also has 2421 international runs under his belt.

Hence, it would be interesting to see if Amir can follow his countryman’s footsteps and play in IPL. The left-arm pacer is currently playing franchise cricket worldwide and even plans to raise his kids in England.