Shunning Pakistani players is not cricket

January 21, 2010
(The Pakistani cricket team)

(The Pakistani cricket team)

Pakistani cricketers, the press and ordinary people are livid about their players’ exclusion from India’s Premier League , the game’s most lucrative tournament played out before a vast television audience. Eight Indian teams that take part in the tournament bid for players  from around the world, doling out large sums of money.  But nobody bid for the 11 Pakistani players on the list, includng some who were part of the Pakistani squad that won last year’s  World Cup Twenty20 tournament, the three-hour version of the game that the IPL is also played in.

It’s not that they were not good enough. They are some of the best the game has to offer. It’s that the people who own the teams fear the Pakistani players may face dificulties getting visas or that tensions between the two countries, already rising, could make things dificult  for them  So why put money on them ?

But then, as former Pakistani skipper Ramiz Raja writes in The Indian Express why were the Pakistani players invited to play  in India in the first place,and indeed put on the list of players to be auctioned. They had even been given cricket visas, he says , adding these men are much like their counterparts in India, heroes of the nation. And so it’s not just the players who have been snubbed,  a whole nation feels insulted.

“The Sports Ministry and Parliament have got the knives out, terming this selection as a snub, and as a great Indian conspiracy to insult the nation and belittle the status of its cricketers,” Raja writes.

One of the players ,Shahid Afridi, who is widely seen as a game-changer the day he gets going, said he felt snubbed. “The IPL and India have made fun of us and our country,” he is quoted as saying in this Times report.

The failure of the IPL to bid for any of its players will only add to Pakistan’s growing sense of sporting isolation. Last year, after India pulled out of a tournament with Pakistan citing security concerns, their replacements, Sri Lanka, were attacked by militants in Lahore. Pakistan was then stripped of its role as a co-host of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, which it was due to hold with India and Bangladesh.

The snub over cricket adds insult to  injury as Pakistan continues to smart over India’s refusal to resume talks saying Islamabad must first act fully against those responsible for the Mumbai attacks of 2008.  On top of renewed cross-border firing in Kashmir and even in Punjab in recent days, a bust-up over cricket, the one thing that broke barriers between the two countries, seems unnecessary, as the Indian media itself is saying.

Indian security blog The Acorn,  which has traditionally taken a tough line on Pakistan, said the cricket decision was wrong. The government has distanced itself from the controversy, saying  it had no role to play in the IPL decision.


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I have to agree. The manner in which this was done is disgusting. I think it could have been handled much better and there was no need to go through all the charade of getting the players involved at all.The bitterness is political in nature, why demean the players? Petty.

The last IPL went off without them and everyone took it in their stride, that is how things stand at the moment between India and Pakistan. The BCCI goofed and goofed badly. Now lets watch them pass the buck as the blame game begins in earnest.

I do not blame the franchisees. For them it has to be their money and ensuring returns. I think they had the most to lose and they did what was in their best interests.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

Sports and national politics must be kept apart, much like religion and the state. IPL tournament took away the national affiliation of the players and made them interact in a very different way and diffused a lot of tension between players of different nations. But governments of both countries should not get involved again and start blowing the smoke into a fire.

The franchises have security concerns. Groups like Shiv Sena must be banned and their leaders jailed. They have started threatening the nation’s integrity by targeting foreign players and games against them. They have started taking law on to their own hands and the government is doing nothing about it. Under these circumstances, I guess the franchises played it safe and did not get involved.

Pakistan has warned that it will offer a befitting reply. This means one can expect a militant attack during an IPL game, ending it permanently in India. That will be Pakistan’s way of ending India’s cricket clout. No foreign players want to enter Pakistan. So they will do the same for India. And BCCI will be brought down to earth.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Come on, this is a cold hard business decision. It will all depends on Player availability. Indian MEA did provide them visas. Akram is still KKR bowling coach. No one knows what will happen in Pakistan in the next 3-5 years. Of course one more attack from terrorists and diplomatic relations will be in doldrums (as if it is not already) and visas of Pakistanis will be revoked. It is completely up to Pakistanis to fix their country. One thing though, in spite of the situation in their country all Pakistanis seem to suffer from a deep sense of entitlement. IPL is a non-state actor.

Posted by PradeepG | Report as abusive

I’m not sure there was any deliberate snub. I’m not a cricket fan, but as I understand it there were more than 60 players standing for auction but only 12 slots in the franchises. But perhaps I’m wrong?

Posted by Mekeritrig | Report as abusive

Cricket and politics should not mix. I think at least one or two Pak cricketers could have been chosen. Players like Afridi are way too talented to be ignored.

And Pakistan should not look at this issue from an India-Pak political issue. The government has nothing to do with it. When Kerry Packer ran his circus, not one Indian player was chosen due to some bias from an English cricketer. But India did not accuse Australians of racism at that time.

But Pakistan might retaliate in a different way – by sabotaging the next IPL by sending in militants. That would put an end to all fun and cricket in the sub-continent.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

This was purely based on business considerations and the media hype is unnecessary.

Posted by robin1949 | Report as abusive

I don’t understand that why there is so much fuss about his issue. It is up to franchises to select what they want. Being on auction list doesn’t mean that you must be selected. Obviously franchises had availability concern so they didn’t go for them. And linking this phenomenon with insulting a nation is completely idiotic. When Pakistan allows terrorists wanted in India to roam freely in Pakistan and doing nothing to arrest them, doesn’t this amount to insulting India? And most of the Pakistanis have history of overreacting. When Pakistan was stripped of world cup host status after the Lahore attacks, they were very quick to blame BCCI for that; when it was completely evident that no one was willing to go to Pakistan. Pakistani should come out their shell and start taking things in a way it is intended. Finally, if their country has been insulted by the IPL, then they should never come to play in any future version of the IPL. Will they do? I doubt. Their greed will draw them to come to India and play here.

Posted by holywarrior007 | Report as abusive

Sadly sports and other types of exchanges between India-Pak events, when they are happening, have little value as such to India-Pak relations, but when not handled well like this IPL issue can hurt the relations.

I can understand the anger of Pakistani cricketers but presenting this as the issue of insult to country is ridiculous and irresponsible. Pakistan politicians are unnecessarily raising the decibels when it is not even clear that Indian govt contributed someway to IPL decision. At least Pakistan should take the statement by the Union External Affairs Minister SM Krishna who said that that Indian government has nothing to do with IPL at face value. Same thing happened when the entire country/media/public, including Kayani, went up in arms over Kapoor’s statement by taking it out of context.

It is an IPL business and money issue and that they will not like to take undue risk with Pakistani players is understandable. But IPL needed to handle it with more maturity.
There are good things happening from India for Pakistan like TED India fellowship, a highly prestigious one for those who know about it. “TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).”
It has been awarded to 5 Pakistanis and that this happened 4 months ago (after 26/11) shows that Indian govt is not into preventing such events. But very few in Pakistan will know this since it is happening without trouble. The day such fellowships are not awarded to Pakistanis, every Pakistani will make an issue out of it.

Read this: akistani-5-pakistanis-selected-for-tedin dia-fellowship/

The 5 Pakistanis selected for this honorable TEDIndia fellowship are:
• Shandana Minhas (Pakistan) – Print and screen writer; her first novel, Tunnel Vision was published in 2007, she is working on her second
• Aun Rahman (Pakistan) – Pakistan Director for Acumen Fund, a global nonprofit social venture fund
• Asher Hasan (Pakistan/US) – Founder CEO of NAYA JEEVAN, a social enterprise dedicated to providing low-income families with affordable access to quality, catastrophic health care
• Shahida Saleem (Pakistan) – Founder of Sehat First, a social enterprise providing access to basic health care and pharmaceutical services across Pakistan
• Awab Alvi (Pakistan) – Dentist, orthodontist and author of Teeth Maestro, a prominent Pakistani political blog”

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

this was clearly a business decision. even so, why do we feel compelled to justify the exclusion of cricketers who are from a county which has repeatedly failed to take responsibility over the numerous heinous acts committed against india?
cricket is more than a sport in our countries and perhaps this a clear way to send the message to the government.

Posted by dhruvsharma | Report as abusive

I think the exclusion of Pakistani cricketers from the IPL is a missed opportunity by Indians to lessen tensions with Pakistan by showing greater goodwill. This action by itself will not fundamentally alter hopes of peace in South Asia, but these small slights and snubs can add up to increase hostility between the two neighbors, increasing the chances of yet another, much more devastating war. Let’s hope there is a course reversal here soon before it’s too late.

Posted by HaqsMusings | Report as abusive

Let us understand the IPL is neither charity nor cricket.

It is run by professionals and they decide what is best to them. Incidentally they use cricketers for their larger cause.

Pakistanis as a brand are more a aberration rather than an real value add and that is what you saw in the IPL auction.

The auction itself is no guarantee for any one to be selected.

It looks to me that the Pakistanis were aggrieved because they could not take home a greater moolah when they expected they could have been over night millionnaires because they are the superstars in T20 now. They need the understand ground realities that they are playing for a franchisee and not for their country. If you are in the market the market forces decide and not your individual thinking.

It would have even be a greater sham if Afridi would have been bid for say 50,000 USD despite being what ever he is in Pakistan.

Posted by mouli | Report as abusive

IPL is pure commerce. It is not about being nice to people. If you are a buyer of some goods or services will you not demand value for money.

In my view IPL franchisee’s did the same.

Where is the country interest in this and Government doing any thing in this.

Let us be nice to people and not nice on issues


Posted by mouli | Report as abusive

This is a business decision exercised by the franchisees. They have taken all types of risks into account, particularly political, to decide.

PCB, sports persons and other officials are taking this emotionally and making statements which will hurt already fragile diplomatic relations.

Posted by shyamnm | Report as abusive

This issue can be seen in two broad angles, the sports & talent and the other from broader prospective taking into current situation prevailing in the subcontinent.
Yes the snub shall definitely reduce the quality of IPL. After all Pakistan is currently the reigning champion of T20. But IPL is purely an entertainment based sports, here money matters and including Pakistani players we are just adding another layer of uncertainty. This is the major reason for the franchisee to play their cards safe.
On a broader perspective there is no doubt that the current snub will be utilized by the radical elements in Pakistan for further India bashing. But the irony is that in this situation everyone has got enough and more reasons to justify their stands. The India government did their part by issuing the visa, the BCCI and PCB did their part well as the facilitators, so did the IPL franchisee by going by the economic considerations.
Now for the overall picture of what is actually happening, the bully is poking into the eye of other boys and complaining that other are not sharing chocolates (oohh its not without reason… by sharing chocolates the bully MIGHT turn out to be a good guy some years down the line, though not sure when!!!)
I am surprised why they are making such a hue and cry about this. It should be ample clear by now that talent alone is not what that counts when you want to take part in an international event. Now the Pakistan media has gone a step further towards self isolation by censoring the IPL.
And talking of national insult, I wonder where were all these players when gunmen from Pakistan stormed Mumbai and held the city as hostage.( on second thought you can’t blame them entirely, this is happening in Pakistan on a daily Basis, but this is surely an insult to any country in a civilized world). Yeah sure!!! that was non state actors and Pakistani Government don’t have any control over them, But the same is true with IPL. It is run by a private organization and Government cannot coerce them to buying Pakistani players
If they really want to move ahead with the peace process, well why don’t they at least bring those responsible for 26/11 to justice rather than asking India to provide more and more proof? I am pretty sure that will bring in more good will in India and improve people to people contacts.

Posted by techie456 | Report as abusive

The fuss about Indians not buying Pakistani players are totally unwarranted .For the first time, Indians have begun thinking like nationalist Indians. I welcome their stand. On the one side, Pakistanis are killing innocent Indians , and on the other side, they want a friendly relations with us ? They can not sail on 2 boats .

Pakistan is a terrorist state, and any relationship with Pakistanis will add to their terror infrastructure and provide legitimacy to Pakistani terror related activity.

Most importantly, the Pakistani outburst suffers from great inferiority complex. It is time Pakistanis should start introspection ,before they lay their claim for legitimacy before India.

Posted by manishindia | Report as abusive

IPL made a business decision on visa concerns so no discrimination here. No bidders were stopped from bidding they have paid enormous money to but teams if they thought bidding for pak cricketers was a sensible decision they would have bid for them.
Well i guess there nothing wrong here the message is clear. Until stop you supporting terrorists by lateral ties will get worst….
We all know Pak Cricketers are awesome but perhaps it is the Pak Govt. we have to blame for not doing too little too late.

Posted by Vindost | Report as abusive

I totaly agree the fact it was India behind the attacks ion sri-lanka team in Lahore. Which was apey back in some way for what hapened in Mumbai. Idots are like jackels wait for any opprtunity to defame Pakistan and trying to isolate the country but good luck simply because indians need it.

IPL without the best players particpating will be not worth watching. Go England U19 offcourse! lol

Posted by Magic786 | Report as abusive

@ Magic786

If India was behind the attacks on Sri Lankan team then your Govt. is really stupid to have claimed that Talibans were behind the attacks. Besides what you write here speaks very highly of the mentality of the Pakistani people who love to fantasize about the conspiracy theories. You and whole of your country needs to grow up.

Posted by holywarrior007 | Report as abusive

I think Pakistani cricketers, politicians and media is making it more dirty than it actually is.

Pakistani politicians feeling angry over a deal between a Pakistani player and IPL and change plans of visiting India is the mentality of small man. Neither Pakistani players nor IPL represent the country.

Yuvraj Singh has been sacked and Sangakara made the captain of Mohali Kings XI. Going by Pakistani cricketers, Yuvraj should react by saying Punjab is insulted. Pakistani players are not alone; some Australians are also out of IPL. I have not heard anyone saying Australia is insulted. Read this from Harsha Bhogle:  /story/445330.html

“The announcement came a day after the IPL franchises chose to ignore cricketers from Pakistan. I was looking forward to watching some fine young men in action and these cricketers have a right to feel done in. The key question, though, is: done in by whom? The franchises have a right to select the team they want, even if it is not the best possible, because they have to wear many hats. They cannot alienate fans, they don’t want to create a security issue, and they do not want any more uncertainty – part of the reason some fine Australian cricketers were turned down too.

I fear these players are being done in by the cage we are imprisoned in. We live in times of violence and hatred; there are many people who seek peace but equally some who seek to deny us what we thought was given. Sport cannot exist in isolation, cannot fly free from this cage of reality. We would love the two to be separated but that has never happened. In times of peace, or relative peace, we could produce the pathbreaking tours of 2004 and 2006. Now we are all pawns in the drama our subcontinent is enacting and the cricketers are merely more visible pawns. The conspiracy that Abdul Razzaq talks about is the reality of our times. The IPL will be poorer for the absence of some extraordinarily gifted cricketers, but this is just another victory for those that infect us with hatred. To believe there is a conspiracy against cricketers from Pakistan is wrong. It is the times we live in.”

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

Pakistan is a terrorist country, a total nuisance , why must we allow Pakistanis to visit our country let alone allowing them to play in IPL league and earn handsome amount at our cost ?

I welcome the stand taken by Indian franchisees , after all it is their decision not to allow Pakis to play in India . Indian govt keeping the vote bank politics in mind , have given Pakis visas , but the franchisees have taken this bold decision in clear defiance of Indian govt stand . Why must we keep any relationship with a nuisance ?

In last 60 years , Pakis have done everything to prove their supremacy over India, and India has beaten them , when they failed in direct confrontation, they started sending Paki terrorists to launch attack on India. When 10 Pakis were causing mayhem on the streets of Mumbai, none of these cricketers visited India nor they sent the condolence messages ? Where were they hiding? Paki cricketers are hypocrats ,they are not concerned with cricket, but the money IPL has to offer . Indian cricketers are quite competent , they are as professional , I am sure Indian cricketers will definitely put up a better show.

I remind the readers, when Pakis lost to India in a world cup match, the then Paki captain publicly made a statement stating he wants to reassure all muslims that they have lost after a great fight, and will put in all their efforts to regain the trophy ? Do Pakis represent all the muslims world over ?

Posted by manishindia | Report as abusive

@When 10 Pakis were causing mayhem on the streets of Mumbai, none of these cricketers visited India nor they sent the condolence messages ?”
–Posted by manishindia

——- in-mumbai-shaken-by-terror-strike-news-c ricket-jegvjCeggee.html

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

The best thing to do for Pakistan is to create its own international cricket league, sponsor teams, auction players, have cheer leaders, booze and fire works. While all players from across the cricketing world join the league, Indian cricketers should be made to feel ashamed and humiliated by watching the events on the other side of the border. It is as simple as that. Actions speak more than words. Pakistan is the best country in the world from all angles and they invented cricket. So it is their fundamental right to expect that others honor them. Or else, they will be made to feel ashamed. Welcome to Islamic Professional League (the acronym sounds exactly the same as that of the Indian counterpart just to rub the Indians in).

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Some humor about IPL Pakistan controversy. 😛 Fk

Posted by PradeepG | Report as abusive

Some more Humour… toon 01/ipl-india-pakistan-ladai.html

Posted by Minanath | Report as abusive

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