KARACHI  - Former players, including Sialkot Stallions captain Shoaib Malik, have welcomed BCCI’s decision to allow Pakistan to participate in the Champions League T20 competition to be held in India in October this year.

“It is a relief to hear that finally we will get a chance to compete with the best teams in the Champions League,” Malik told PTI.  The Malik-led Sialkot Stallions team has won the national T20 championship and super eights titles this season.  The star-studded Sialkot side that includes Imran Nazir, Rana Naved, Shakeel Ansar has been the national T20 champions in Pakistan six times.

The governing board of the Champions League that includes the South African and Australian boards will have to ratify the BCCI recommendation at its meeting later this month.

Although the Sialkot team was due to take part in the first Champions League in 2008 and some of its players had already reached India for this purpose, things didn’t work out when in the same month in November that year the Mumbai terror attacks took place.

Moin Khan said the decisions taken by the BCCI were very positive and a step in the right direction. “Hopefully in the next IPL our players will also be invited to be part of the T20 extravaganza,” he said.  Moin said he knew that Pakistani players enjoyed playing in India. “The passion and knowledge for the sport is very high in India and our players are very popular there. I just hope that very soon the BCCI also resumes bilateral cricket ties,” he said.

Former Test batsman, Basit Ali said he had been insisting all along that without Pakistani players the IPL was losing out on some quality players.

 “It is good that the BCCI has decided to start off with the Champions League and now we can be hopeful the next step would be the IPL and then bilateral ties,” he added.