Pakistani cricketers, who were ignored by the Indian Premier League franchises in the IPL auction held on Tuesday, have reacted angrily to the snub with Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi saying that the IPL’s attitude was disappointing.
Afridi, who was supposed to be the main attraction for franchisees at the IPL auction in Mumbai, said from Brisbane he was disappointed and upset with the way things panned out.
“The way I see it, the IPL and India have made fun of us and our country by treating us this way,” Afridi said.
“We are the Twenty20 World Champions and for me the attitude of the franchisees was disappointing. I feel bad for the Indian people who I am sure wanted to see us play in the IPL this year,” Afridi said.
Afridi was the first player to be put on auction with a base price of $250,000, but no franchise was interested in buying him.
Franchises preferred West Indian, South African and Australian players while ignoring the 11 Pakistani players who were available in the auction for sale. The franchisees said Pakistani players’ availability was not certain and they couldn’t risk their money on them.
Afridi was among the batch of Pakistani players who played in the first IPL season for Deccan Chargers.
“They have basically tried to hurt our cricket and image, and this is most disappointing because I believe there should be no politics in sports,” Pakistani all-rounder Abdul Razzaq said.
He also questioned the inclusion of Pakistani players in the auction list if the franchisees were not interested.
‘They hurt the image of the sport’
“In the end it is the IPL which has lost out because the fact is our players have star value and are the best in T20 cricket,” he added.
All-rounder Sohail Tanvir, who was the best bowler of the inaugural IPL season and played a big role in helping Rajasthan Royals win the title, said he felt humiliated and angry with what transpired at the auction.
“They mean to say none of our players are good enough to be in the IPL. I am sorry to say the franchisees have taken a decision not based on cricketing sense but on political grounds, which is a shame and has hurt the image of the sport,” Tanvir said.
He pointed out that if the IPL and franchisees had reservations over having Pakistani players they should have made it clear beforehand.
“Why create all this fuss about visa requirements and government clearances. If they don’t want us they should be clear about it in the first place.” Tanvir said.
But former Pakistan captain, Rameez Raja was more vocal in his take on the auction.
“I think the IPL and the Indian government have lost a golden opportunity to help improve ties between the two countries,” the former captain told PTI.
“I really do believe there were political reasons behind the way our players were snubbed at the auction and it is most unfortunate,” he said.
Former Pakistani leg-spinner Abdul Qadir said it is time the PCB organised its own league.
“If the need arises we should hold this league even at a neutral venue and try to invite as many Indian players as possible to give out a clear message we don’t mix sports with politics,” he said.
Former captain Zaheer Abbas said the Pakistani players must realise that IPL is a private league.
“The fact is the IPL is a private enterprise, and if their franchises are not willing to take our players, what can anyone do. But there is no doubt that our players and Pakistan cricket have been humiliated and insulted at such a big forum in a planned manner,” he stated.
Zaheer, however, said if the PCB felt the Indians had done anything untoward, then they should announce a complete boycott of ties with India.
“Our players and officials should also not go to India for any reason. But if we want a betterment of ties with India then we should just keep quiet,” he said.