Indian Premier League chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi said the recent auction does not suggest that the doors of cash rich Twenty20 league are shut on Pakistani players, and they can still be part of the third edition if some players drop out.
None of the 11 Pakistani players was picked in last week's auction, leaving the cricketers angry and humiliated. The issue has now snowballed into a diplomatic row with Pakistan calling it a deliberate ploy of India.
Things got so bitter that the Pakistan authorities declared that none of their players will feature in the IPL next year and also the Champions League Twenty20.
Modi, however, said he is hopeful that Pakistani players will return in future editions of IPL.
"I am sure the Pakistani players will return," Modi told CNN-IBN. "We will discuss this with the Pakistan board officials when we meet them."
"Some teams have still not finished their quota of players and some players can still drop out. In that case, franchises can choose Pakistani players as replacements."
Modi also denied any mishandling in the IPL auction, and insisted that the decision to leave out Pakistani players was only of the franchisees. He also cleared that no directions had come from the government in this regard.
"I don't think that there's any mishandling, the franchisees decided on their own," Modi said. "We never said in the first place that the government in any way nudged us in that direction. So it was a decision that was taken by the franchisees and let's leave it at that. There was no pre-decision."
"They were all worried about the availability and that's why the Australians weren't picked up along with many other players and all that we keep hearing now is one story - about not bidding for Pakistani cricketers."