Afridi, Akhtar and Younus among missing stars as the ex-West Indies captain makes bow in the 416-strong IPL auction.
Pakistanis still out of IPL but Lara returns
Pakistan's cricketers will continue to miss out on the Indian Premier League (IPL) bonanza, but Brian Lara is coming out of retirement for a piece of the action.
The former West Indies captain will be in the player auction, organisers said yesterday, as they also revealed that no Pakistan players will be part of next year's money-spinning event.
They released a list of 416 players whose services will be auctioned in Bangalore on January 8-9 for the fourth edition of the Twenty20 tournament, which is to be held in April and May.
Pakistani cricketers took part in the inaugural IPL in 2008, but were forced out of the 2009 edition due to security concerns in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, and were then ignored for the 2010 tournament.
An IPL official said the Pakistan Cricket Board had not forwarded any names for the January auction.
"The rules stipulate that a player must apply through his home board if he wanted to be put up for the auction. No names were received from Pakistan," the official told AFP.
In addition to the absence of Pakistani stars such as Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar and Younus Khan, some top players from other countries have opted out. The Australian trio of the captain Ricky Ponting, his deputy Michael Clarke and the fast bowler Mitchell Johnson have chosen not to play in the event.
Other notable absentees include the former Australian stars Matthew Hayden and Glenn McGrath. The former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who signed for US$1.55 million (Dh5.7m) with the Chennai Super Kings in 2009, has retired.
But Lara, the holder of both the Test and first-class single-innings scoring records, has declared his intent to play. Lara, 41, was not part of the first three editions and retired from international cricket in April 2007.
Other first-timers include England's Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Graeme Swann, Michael Yardy and Luke Wright.
The eight founder franchises will be joined for the auction by two new teams, from Kochi and Pune.
Twelve players who were retained by their franchises will not feature in the auction.
India's Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh, the West Indian Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga of Sri Lanka were retained by the Mumbai Indians.
The reigning champions, Chennai Super Kings, kept India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Murali Vijay and South African all-rounder Albie Morkel.
The Australian duo of Shane Warne and Shane Watson were retained by Rajasthan Royals, while Delhi Daredevils kept Virender Sehwag and Bangalore Royal Challengers retained Virat Kohli.
The tournament, due to run from April 8 to May 22, will be the first without the IPL's chief architect, Lalit Modi, who was thrown out by the Indian board over accusations of misconduct.
The Indian board has registered a criminal case against him for the misappropriation of 4.68 billion rupees (Dh380 million), and he also faces a government probe over alleged financial irregularities.