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Pak Players To Avoid IPL In Future, Outrage Continues

PTI 21 Jan 2010, 21:28:38 IST

Hurt Pakistani cricketers have decided to avoid the IPL till Indo-Pak ties normalise even as the auction snub continued to evoke angry reactions from the sports fraternity with some former players calling for a boycott of the hockey World Cup in India. 

The players, who did not find a buyer in the third IPL auction on Tuesday, held a meeting in Brisbane, where the team will play an ODI series against Australia. They decided it was best to ignore the event at least for the time being. 

"The players unanimously decided to avoid playing in the IPL in future and until at least relations between the two countries normalised," one source said. 

"The players were pretty upset that no franchise was willing to bid for them and they all felt this was a planned move by the IPL and franchises to humiliate them publicly," the source said. 

The outrage over Pakistani players being ignored at the auction threatened to snowball into a major diplomatic row and there were reports that angry cricket fans burnt effigees of IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi in Lahore. Some former players made a scathing attack against the IPL organisers and the franchisees for humiliating the Pakiistani players. 

Former Pakistan cricket captain Zaheer Abbas suggested that the national hockey team should be withdrawn from the World Cup in India to protest the "humiliating" treatment meted out to the country's cricketers. 

Abbas said he would talk to sports minister Ejaz Jakhrani on the matter. The World Cup is due to be held from last week of February in Delhi with Pakistan facing India in their opening match of a tournament they have not won since 1994. 

"We need to make some sort of strong statement conveying our feelings over the way the IPL organisers and franchises deliberately insulted our cricketers at the auction," Abbas said. The former Test batsman said Pakistan must be clear about its sports policy with India and act accordingly. 

"We must be clear about how we should have sporting relations with India because for the last one year they have been doing everything possible to hurt our image and isolate us internationally," he said. Sports Minister Jakhrani, however, made it clear that Pakistan will not withdraw from the hockey World Cup in India despite the outrage in the country. 

Jakhrani said it would not be possible for Pakistan to boycott the World Cup as it was an International Hockey Federation event and not related to India. "I would tell the players to go there and play their hearts out and try to win the World Cup for Pakistan. It would be a befitting answer to the Indians that we don't mix politics with sports," Jakhrani said.

But Jakhrani said he would be discussing sporting ties with India during a meeting with Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Olympic Association officials in Lahore tomorrow. 

Jakhrani called on the Indian government to at least look into the reasons behind franchises decision to not buy any of the 11 Pakistani players at the auction. 

"I think if the Indian government says it can't interfere in IPL affairs as it is a private organization then it should at least find out why our players were humiliated in this fashion," he said. 

Jamshed Dasti, the Chairman of the National Assembly standing committee on sports blamed the PCB leadership for the humiliation the players had to face at the IPL auction. 

"This is not the first time the board and Chairman, Ejaz Butt have failed miserably to handle things properly and read the situation correctly," he said. 

"That is why the NA standing committee has urged the chief patron to immediately change the Chairman of the board and make other changes in the cricket set-up," he said. PTI