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Babar Azam deserves to play in IPL, don't want to get into India-Pakistan politics: Nasser Hussain

London, Aug 14: Days after he termed Pakistan's star batsman Babar Azam is the league of India batting maestro Virat Kohli, former England captain Nasser Hussain now believes the Pakistan cricketer deserves to play in the Indian Premier League to showcase his talent.

While talking about Azam's skills and class in the ongoing second Test match between Pakistan and England, Hussain said he doesn't want to get into the politics of the estranged neighbours (India and Pakistan) but the right-handed batsman deserves to play in the best domestic T20 league in the world.

"I don't want to get into the politics of it but India and Pakistan not playing each other are like the Premier League with Manchester City not playing Manchester United, or Everton-Liverpool or Spurs and Arsenal", Nasser Hussain remarked.

Pakistani cricketers were allowed to play in the IPL but ever since the 2008 Mumbai Terror attack, the political relations between the two countries turned sour. And the players from Pakistan were barred from participating in the IPL.

"It's the Pakistani players not being in the IPL. The IPL will start soon and Babar Azam won't be there. He's a phenomenal player and he should be there," Hussain told Geo Super.

Earlier last week, while praising Babar as an outstanding player during the opening Test match in Manchester and compared him in the league of Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson.

"Pakistan have a world-class batsman in Babar Azam," Hussain told Sky Sports. "It's not only his stats but the way he gets them, how elegant a player he is. "He plays through that offside beautifully, a lovely driver of the ball, good off the front foot and the back foot. He's a very, very watchable young man, he really is. Outstanding player.

"I think for Pakistan to win this series, Babar Azam needs to have a good series. If he has a good series, it will be very, very watchable. He is a gun player."

Hussain said it's disappointing that Babar does not get the same attention as the Fab Four of Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and Joe Root.

"I think it is a real shame and it is in part a consequence of Pakistan playing away from home, playing in the UAE all the time in front of no one, Pakistan hiding in the shadow of Indian cricket, not going over and playing IPL cricket, not playing India," he said.

"If this lad was Virat Kohli, everyone would be talking about it but because it is Babar Azam, no one is talking about it. He averages 68 since 2018 and 55 in white-ball cricket. He's young, he's elegant, he's got all the swagger. They keep going on about the fab four, it's the fab five and Babar Azam is in that." "I've been trying to figure out why he has got better recently in Test cricket," said Hussain.

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Story first published: Friday, August 14, 2020, 20:58 [IST]
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