Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ijaz Butt has squarely blamed the Indian Premier League (IPL) and its commissioner Lalit Modi for ignoring Pakistani players for the third season of India's Twenty20 league, but said it will not have any long-term effect on sporting ties between the two countries.
"This (decision to keep out Pakistani players) has nothing to do with Indo-Pak relations in cricket. This is between IPL and us. They have made a mistake, whether purposefully we don't know. But I strongly feel it was a wrong decision on their part not to consider any of our boys," Butt told CNN-IBN in an interview.
IPL franchise owners did not bid for Pakistani players during the auction for the IPL III, which has snowballed into a major spat between the two countries. In the latest move, the PCB has revoked its no objection certificates to players to participate in the IPL. This means that no Pakistani player will be able to play in IPL this year even if any Indian team seek their inclusion at a later stage.
Butt thinks "the responsibility is solely with IPL and Lalit Modi".
"IPL is giving statements against Pakistani players despite many people in Pakistan and India having asked us to move on. We still don't know any reason why has this not been entertained yet by IPL."
The PCB chief also questioned Modi's "motive" behind the controversy.
"You must ask Modi about the motive. Why he did this we don't understand. I don't think anybody in India or Pakistan understands this. I spoke to Modi in London during the T20 World Cup. He explained the reasons why the boys were not considered in South Africa (last year). I understood and then he assured me all would be playing in next IPL (IPL III)."