Pakistan players will have to go through the auction process if they are to play in the Indian Premier League next season, despite belatedly securing clearance from both governments to participate in 2010. Four players received visas from the Indian government today. They are believed to be Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Gul, Kamran Akmal and Sohail Tanvir - all of whom had IPL contracts which had been suspended when Pakistan players were banned from the 2009 event following the Mumbai terrorist attacks. However, the IPL commissioner Lalit Modi that the players must go to auction on January 19 because the franchisees had gone ahead and replaced them immediately after it was announced that the players had missed the original visa deadline of December 7. The deadline had been extended but the Indian High Commission claimed they were not aware of any such thing and also had to co-ordinate with their counterparts in New Zealand, where Pakistan are currently playing, to process the applications of the players in question.
The Bangalore Royal Challengers had secured South Africa's Roelof van der Merwe in place of Misbah. Charles Langeveldt, the South African fast bowler, has replaced Gul at Kolkata Knight Riders while Rajhastan Royals had bought in Johan Botha in place of Akmal and Tanvir. The Pakistan Cricket Board had hoped for a further extension of the visa deadline - already twice put back - but Modi said another delay would have hampered franchises' planning for the next season, which begins in March 2010. In the inaugural IPL season of 2008, 11 Pakistan players took part, but they were banned from the 2009 competition after Mumbai, even when the competition was moved to South Africa. Pakistan won the Twenty20 World Cup this year, and would ordinarily be in high demand but relations between the neighboring countries remains strained.