KARACHI: Shiv Sena threats may have failed to convince the India cricket board to shun the hugely-anticipated tour in December but it may put the return of Pakistan cricketers in the billion-dollar Indian Premier League (IPL) in jeopardy.
The improving ties between the Pakistan and India cricket boards, which resulted in the confirmation of a short series between the archrivals in December, also made the possibility of Pakistan players featuring in the IPL ‘higher than ever’. The last time Pakistan cricketers took part in the IPL was in 2008.
However, according to India media reports, despite the mends between the two boards, the participation of Pakistani players in next year’s IPL still looks unlikely.
It suggested that the presence of two teams — Mumbai and Pune — based in Maharashtra, which the Shiv Sena has made a no-go area for Pakistan cricketers, is an obstacle for their inclusion in IPL-6 that starts in April next year.
Sena chief Bal Thackeray recently repeated his call to ‘staunch Hindus and the patriotic public’ to not allow Indo-Pak cricket matches in India.
Pakistan players have not featured in the league following the first edition in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The country’s players, however, were up for grabs in auction for the 2009 edition with none of the teams showing an interest.
Decision of inclusion likely in January
While the BCCI remained unperturbed over the threats, one of its official admitted it was a ‘concern’ with regards to IPL participation.
“These issues will come under discussion by the IPL council in the coming days,” the BCCI official told The Express Tribune. “The IPL is definitely different than hosting Pakistan series as a lot of venues are involved.”
“But at the moment, Pakistan players’ participation is not the core discussion as teams are busy in the process of retaining players and making transfers.
“The final decision of their inclusion is likely to be made in January while it may come under discussion on November 21 in the governing council meeting.”
The BCCI invited Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf to witness the IPL final this year, while Pakistan’s domestic champions Sialkot Stallions were invited for the Champions League T20 tournament for the first time as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2012