Union Home Minister P Chidambaram's love for cricket came to the fore yet again in the midst of a perceived snub to Pakistani players by IPL when he said today he would be happy to see some of them in action.
"I am speaking as a cricket lover...What I see on the television seems to be a good beginning," Chidambaram said when asked to comment on the statement by the Indian Premier League (IPL) that Pakistani cricketers still have a chance to be part of the glitzy sporting event.
Chidambaram's remarks came amid reports that Abdul Razzaq is being roped in by one of the IPL franchisees.
"Even if three, four or five Pakistani cricketers eventually play in some matches of IPL, I, and several million cricket lovers would be happy," he told reporters here.
Chidambaram on Monday chided the IPL for ignoring Pakistani players, terming their exclusion "a disservice to cricket" and maintaining that the government had no role in it.
Lamenting the exclusion, he had described some of the players as "among the best Twenty20", and said: "These players were coming as individuals, it was not a Pakistan team."
"I think it is disservice to cricket that some of these players were not picked. I don't know why the IPL teams acted in the manner they acted. But certainly to suggest that there was a hint or nudge from the government is completely untrue," he said.
After Chidambaram's remarks, IPL Chairman Lalit Modi said, "some teams have still not finished their quota of players and some players could drop out, franchisees can choose Pakistani players as replacements or to fill vacancies."
All the 11 Pakistani players went unsold at the IPL auction earlier this month and Modi said it was the franchisees' decision to not pick them.