Azhar Mahmood, the former Pakistan allrounder, has been granted an Indian visa for the IPL but ESPNcricinfo understands it is valid only for Chandigarh and Delhi. Mahmood will arrive on Saturday to play for Kings XI Punjab but will be available only for five games in Chandigarh, at their home ground in Mohali, and one match against Delhi Daredevils in Delhi.
Mahmood, who is now a British citizen and plays for Kent, was bought by the franchise at the auction last February for $200,000. He was expected to be available for selection from the beginning of the IPL season but visa delays led him to miss Kings XI’s first three matches.
However, his arrival will boost Kings XI, who suffered a setback when England allrounder Stuart Broad was ruled out of the entire IPL season due to a calf strain.
Adam Gilchrist, the Kings XI captain, had announced Mahmood’s imminent arrival at the media briefing in Mohali after the game against Pune Warriors India on Thursday. Mahmood, who is the only player in this IPL to have played for Pakistan, tweeted to confirm the development.
Kings XI suffered successive defeats in their first two matches, both away games. Back then Gilchrist had made public his disappointment about not having Mahmood at his disposal, saying Kings XI were missing outon a “class” player.
A consistent allrounder in Twenty20 cricket, Mahmood has been one of the top performers for Kent. He was player of the season for Kent in the County Championship last year and finished as the county’s highest run-getter in the domestic T20 tournament, with 485 runs, including a century, from 15 games at a strike-rate of 143.91.