ISLAMABAD - The reports of Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) warnings to former international cricketers against taking part in the Kashmir Premier League (KPL) have sparked massive criticism in Pakistan.
The first edition of the league is scheduled to commence from August 6 in Muzaffarabad. Reports emerged on late Friday that BCCI was coercing other boards to direct their players not to participate in the KPL. Former Pakistan cricket great Rashid Latif was the first to claim that BCCI was sending warnings to cricket boards over allowing their players to participate in KPL.
“The @BCCI is 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. Gibbs, Dilshan, Monty Panesar & several others have been selected in KPL,” he said on his twitter handle.
The organizes of the event also confirmed that they had received news regarding Indian threats to foreign players. “We’ve received news from different sources that there were some problems with regard to our foreign players. We were also told by a couple of our foreign agents [that there were some issues]. They also sent us an email, which has the detail of [their] entire communication [with the foreign players],” Arif Malik, the chairman of KPL said in a video message.
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Former South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs on Saturday tweeted that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had warned him against featuring in the event. “Completely unnecessary of the @BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me playing in the @kpl_20. Also threatening me saying they won’t allow me entry into India for any cricket related work. Ludicrous,” he said on twitter.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, while commenting on the BCCI attitude, said that it was not the first time that the Modi’s government had sacrificed cricket for its damned politics. “The pressure on Herschelle Gibbs not to take part in the Kashmir [Premier] League is a continuation of this old practice. Such tactics would only benefit the Kashmir movement instead of weakening it,” he said on twitter.
Senator Dr Shehzad Waseem also took to twitter on the issue saying, “After decades of atrocities in Kashmir, India is now promoting its hatred and prejudice in sports as well. KPL is reality, it will happen and we are ready to welcome all our guests.”
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Chairman Kashmir Committee Shehryar Khan Afridi also strongly reacted to the Indian attitude and said India’s hegemonic designs were exposed again. “Indian @BCCI coerced Cricketers from England, South Africa, Sri Lanka to prevent them from [email protected]_20. India also threatened players on their ‘safety’. This is worst case of politicisation of #Cricket after #BIG3 hijack of cricket,” he said on his twitter account.
Foreign office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri on the development said India’s politicisation of cricket could not be condemned enough. “Depriving young Kashmiri players of the opportunity to share [a] dressing room with big names in cricket is unfortunate and regrettable,” he tweeted.
Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Dr Fehmida Mirza while slamming India approach tweeted: “Sports should be above politics and should transcend borders. Sports will achieve peace and will promote local talent tourism. @hershybru [Herschelle Gibbs] should be allowed to play, hope some sense prevails.” Minister for Economic Affairs Omer Ayub Khan tweeted: “Modi’s fascist regime in India has completely lost it. Politicising Cricket. Blackmailing people. India should give freedom to the innocent people in IOK. In AJK, KPL will happen InshaAllah. People in AJK will enjoy cricket with freedom.”
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Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also expressed its displeasure over reports that the BCCI had called multiple ICC Members and forced them to withdraw their retired cricketers from the KPL. The PCB believes the BCCI has once again breached international norms and the spirit of the gentleman’s game by interfering in internal affairs of the ICC Members as the KPL has been approved by the PCB.
“The PCB considers that the BCCI has brought the game into disrepute by issuing warnings to multiple ICC Members to stop their retired cricketers from featuring in the Kashmir Premier League, further threatening they will not be allowed entry into India for cricket-related work.
“Such conduct from the BCCI is completely unacceptable, against the preamble of the Spirit of Cricket and sets a dangerous precedence, which can neither be tolerated nor ignored. “The PCB will raise this matter at the appropriate ICC forum and also reserves the right to take any further action that is available to us within the ICC charter,” the PCB said in a media statement.
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