LAHORE: Former South Africa batting greatHerschelle Gibbs has accused the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) of ‘trying to prevent’ him from participating in the inaugural Kashmir Premier League (KPL) and bringing their ‘political agenda with Pakistan into the equation.’ Gibbs, who is a part of KPL franchise Overseas Warriors, made the accusation in a tweet, adding that the BCCI has also threatened of denying him entry in India if he participates in the league. “Completely unnecessary of the BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me playing in the KPL,” the Proteas great said. They are also threatening me saying they won’t allow me entry into India for any cricket related work. Ludicrous.”
Later, Gibbs told media that the person issuing the threat was BCCI Secretary Jay Shah. “It came from Mr Shah. The message was sent to Graeme smith who passed it on to me,” he said. Gibbs’ allegation comes a day after former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif’s made similar remarks. Latif, in a tweet, had said that the BCCI was “warning cricket boards that if their former players took part in Kashmir Premier League, they won’t be allowed entry in India or allowed to work in Indian cricket at any level or in any capacity.” The first-ever edition of KPL is scheduled to begin from August 6 and conclude on August 16. It comprises five franchises representing cities of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, while a sixth franchise named Overseas Warriors is reserved for overseas Kashmiris. The T20 league, similar in stylings to the Pakistan Super League, will feature a mix of Pakistan’s domestic and international talent.
Unfortunate and regrettable: Foreign Office spokesperson ZahidHafeezChaudhri reacted strongly to the development, saying that India’s politicisation of cricket couldn’t be “condemned enough”. “Depriving young Kashmiri players of the opportunity to share dressing room with big names in cricket is unfortunate and regrettable,” he tweeted. Information Minister FawadChaudhry, meanwhile, said that it was not the first time that NarendraModi’s government had sacrificed cricket for its politics. “The pressure on Herschelle Gibbs not to participate in the Kashmir Premier League is a continuation of this old practice,” he tweeted. “We strongly condemn these measures,” Chaudhry said, adding that such measures would only benefit the Kashmir movement instead of weakening it.