The government on Wednesday moved in to put a lid on the IPL controversy involving Pakistani players, with Sports Minister, MS Gill, advising the IPL authorities to take a lesson from the “fiasco”.
“I have seen the graceful response of some Pakistani cricketers to the IPL auction fiasco. I welcome the remarks and hope there will soon be an opportunity for these boys to play exciting cricket in India,” Gill said.
“I trust that the IPL corporate owners have also taken a small lesson from it. Everyone must realise that sport is the bedrock of people-to-people contact, which we need to promote with our neighbours,” the Sports Minister said.
Meanwhile, an official in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said, “No one in the government wanted such a situation. “It’s like fire-fighting now. We had fast-tracked the visa process and issued them multi-entry visas in December and January so that they could take part in the tournament,” said another government official.
Earlier, Home Minister P Chidambaram had said that the franchisees had done a “disservice” to the game by ignoring the Pakistani players. Chidambaram had said the cricket lovers were disappointed by the franchisees’ behaviour and felt the controversy was avoidable.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) maintained that they were committed to participating in the World Cup. Welcoming the statement, Gill said, “I have noted the statement of the PHF secretary and the team’s preparations for the World Cup.