IPL gives Pakistan the ‘royal snub’

27 Jan 2010 by Mahendra Prasad in IPL

The IPL Season 3 isn’t too far away from wooing Indian viewers yet again. However, Pakistani players will not being playing, just as the second season. Remember, Pakistan are the champions in T-20 cricket having won the World Cup last year. So how is it that none of the eight franchisees were interested in buying Pakistan’s players?

Well, there are three sets of people who are responsible for the snub according to me.

The Indian government which has been accused of secretly persuading the franchisees not to buy Pakistani players in revenge of the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008, which has seen sour political relations between the two countries ever since. The scenario is possible as the IPL’s governing body might have acted as a medium of communication between the Indian government and the franchisees.

It could be the IPL directly who might have instructed the franchisees to act in the manner they did, in the best interests of the BCCI. The BCCI and the PCB, like the governments, have been in a tiff since India cancelled a scheduled tour of Pakistan in December 2008, right after the Mumbai attacks. Sri Lanka had to act as mediator and played ODIS against both the countries.

Followed by which Pakistan didn’t permit their players to participate in the IPL Season 2 in South Africa despite the best security assured as the tournament shifted from India. The BCCI might have then felt insulted, believing that Pakistan doesn’t want to get involved in cricketing ties featuring India in the near future, resulting in the snub of the Pakistani players this season.

3) Worst, it could be the franchisees themselves who must have had a consensus that none of them would pick the Pakistani players perhaps due to strained political relations or the fact that the players hardly played in the first edition of the IPL and didn’t play in the second. This meant that the franchisees’ investing in Pakistani players in the future won’t make much of sense as many of the contracted players had been signed for three years by their respective franchisees.

The government has washed off their hands over this major issue on the pretext that they had issued visas to the Pakistanis which made them eligible to play in the IPL this time around. India’s home minister P Chidambaram also feels that Pakistan’s exclusion is a ‘disservice to cricket’. These comments come after an outrage in Pakistan has occurred with the PCB threatening to snap ties with Indian cricket unless there is no change seen in the immediate future.

Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, has himself denied any role of the BCCI in this issue saying that IPL is a completely different entity from the BCCI even if the tournament is the board’s brainchild. So, BCCI might not be involved.

The franchisees have also taken blame partly by agreeing that they felt that their investments won’t be safe by buying Pakistani players. However, they may also not be blamed as they have followed what they believe is right for the team’s benefit as they didn’t pick many Australian or English players for that matter.

I believe that whoever is responsible for this debacle has facilitated miscommunication between the IPL and the franchisees. Cricket needs unity at the moment and not discord, especially between India and Pakistan. Indian cricket has almost died by showing that they are not willing to welcome players from countries like Pakistan to come and play the game in India. The IPL is a major event in international cricket, but it has fallen in the eyes of its lovers for this outrageous exclusion.

David Morgan, the ICC president, recently expressed his desire to hold talks between India and Pakistan to persuade them to start playing cricket against each other, therefore renewing their rivalry which is good for the game. However the million dollar question arises –

‘Would India and Pakistan ever be united, especially after this ‘royal snub’?

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