'IPL used flimsy grounds to keep Pak players out'
Miffed with the Indian Premier League's refusal to allow Pakistani players' participation for the second year in a row, Federal Minister for Sports Aftab Shah Jillani said the event's organisers have used "flimsy grounds" to "snub" his country's cricketers.cricket Updated: Dec 09, 2009 14:32 IST
Miffed with the Indian Premier League's refusal to allow Pakistani players' participation for the second year in a row, Federal Minister for Sports Aftab Shah Jillani said the event's organisers have used "flimsy grounds" to "snub" his country's cricketers.
Jillani described the denial of permission to play in IPL III as an "insult" to Pakistan.
"If the IPL didn't want our players to take part in the tournament why did they bother to even ask the cricket board to furnish all government clearances for the players," Jillani said.
He said the sports ministry had worked overtime to get clearances from the foreign and interior ministries for the PCB.
"We did our part because we wanted our players to take part in the IPL this time. But I am afraid the way the IPL has snubbed our players on flimsy grounds is an insult to us," Jillani added.
He said it was about time, the Pakistan Cricket Board stopped "pandering to the Indian cricket authorities and showed more independence".
"I don't think we should be running after the Indian board or events now. Because they don't appear interested in responding likewise to us," the minister said.
IPL commissioner Lalit Modi announced yesterday that Pakistani players would not be able to take part in the next season of the league because the PCB had failed to get visas for them by the given deadline.
Modi said since the IPL has already twice extended the deadline for submitting all documents, there was nothing more he could do now.
Jillani said he couldn't understand how the PCB could arrange visas for the players when the IPL had not done anything to get a green signal from the Indian government.
"We want to normalise sporting ties with India that is why our ministry allowed our squash and table tennis teams to go to India this year because we don't believe in mixing sports with politics," he stated.
Pakistan's flamboyant allrounder Shahid Afridi, however, considers the non-participation of Pakistani players in the IPL as a blessing in disguise.
"It is disappointing that once again we can't play in the IPL but at the same time it also means that our players can now focus totally on preparations for the Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies," Afridi said.
"Obviously we wanted to play in the IPL it is a major event but I just think maybe the Indians could have been more cooperative with us in given circumstances," added Afridi, who is Pakistan's T20 captain.
Afridi said not having Pakistani participation was not good for IPL either. "They could have done a bit more to ensure our participation in the event," he said.