Many eyebrows were raised when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to host the first leg of the IPL-7 in UAE.
Former BCCI president Shashank Manohar claimed: "Many years back, a conscious decision was taken by the BCCI to abstain from matches in the Middle East in view of certain information regarding rampant betting and match fixing. As far as I know, that decision has not been revoked."
However, former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal, who as chief co-ordinator of Cricketers Benefit Fund Series, hosted a record number of ODIs in Sharjah was 'pleasantly surprised' with the BCCI's new stance.
Speaking over the phone from England, Iqbal said: "I am surprised, and at the same time very happy to learn that BCCI has planned to play some IPL matches there."
"It is another story that this organisation (BCCI) is itself under scrutiny for all that it accused Sharjah and CBFS of. The fact that it has decided to play IPL matches in UAE confirms that neither the organisation nor the venue can be held responsible for corrupt activities of those actively participating on the field."
"Now I hope Sharjah is given regular international matches every time a series is played in the UAE. One must acknowledge that it was Sharjah that introduced international cricket to the UAE.
"As for BCCI's current dilemma, this is just the beginning," the 70-year-old Iqbal, who has been recovering after recent hospitalization, concluded.