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No takers for Pakistan cricketers in IPL-III

Cricketing ties between India and Pakistan continued to remain frozen as none of the eight Indian Premier League (IPL) franchisees bid for Pakistani players in the auction. Eleven Pakistani players went under the hammer, but all remained unsold.

cricket Updated: Jan 20, 2010 00:36 IST
Bivabasu Kumar

Cricketing ties between India and Pakistan continued to remain frozen as none of the eight Indian Premier League (IPL) franchisees bid for Pakistani players in the auction. Eleven Pakistani players went under the hammer, but all remained unsold.

The IPL was considered to be a bridge in the wake of troubled diplomatic ties between the neighbouring countries. But the franchisees’ cold shrug towards Pakistani cricketers on Tuesday took Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ijaz Butt by surprise.

“It’s not only shocking, but disappointing as well. We were hoping that things would be all right and they had also
confirmed that most of our players would be considered. It’s disappointing for us,” Butt said.

While most franchisees blamed it on the uncertainty over the availability of the Pakistani cricketers, some said they didn’t fit into their scheme of things. “I have no doubts about Sohail Tanvir being a match-winner, but his availability was an issue,” said Rajasthan Royals co-owner Manoj Badale.

“We were not convinced about their availability and that’s why we did not want to take any risk,” reiterated Shilpa Shetty, Rajasthan Royals’ co-owner.

But the PCB chief said there weren’t any visa issues with any of the 11 Pakistani cricketers and they had the clearance to travel to India. “We were given permission to travel to India from our foreign office and the ministry. All 11 Pakistani

players in the IPL auction list had their papers ready and the sports minister in India was very kind to expedite things to ensure they were not troubled. I really don’t know what went wrong, but it is hurting.”

Among the players in the auction list, left-arm seamer Tanvir was touted as a front-runner along with explosive all-rounder Shahid Afridi. Tanvir, who had represented Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural edition, was the highest wicket-taker in the tournament and was instrumental in his team’s march to victory.

On not showing any interest to get Tanvir back into their fold, Badale said: “Every team has its own strategy, and this year, we don’t need him. We are in touch with captain Shane Warne over phone and he suggested that we buy Damien Martyn. We were looking for an experienced batsman and Martyn was our first choice. Adam Voges fits our bill since he is more of an all-rounder.”