ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has strongly condemned India’s politicization of cricket by preventing international players to participate in the Kashmir Premier League (KPL).
In a tweet uploaded on Saturday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said “India’s politicization of cricket cannot be condemned enough”. He termed “unfortunate and regrettable” the reports where Kashmiri players were denied to share the dressing room with renowned cricket players.
“Depriving young Kashmiri players of the opportunity to share the dressing room with big names in cricket is unfortunate and regrettable,” he further wrote in the tweet.
The reaction came as former South Africa masterblaster Herschelle Gibbs accused the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) of “trying to prevent” him from participating in KPL and bringing their “political agenda with Pakistan into the equation”.
Herschelle Gibbs blasted India’s cricket board for threatening him for playing Kashmir Premier League being organised by rival Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Gibbs disclosed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is threatening him and doing everything possible to prevent him from playing Kashmir Premier League. The former Protea opener made the allegations public on his Twitter account, saying: “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.”
Earlier former Pakistani wicketkeeper-batsman Rashid Latif too had made similar allegations. “The @BCCI 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, @MontyPanesar & several others have been selected in KPL.”
Sri Lanka’s star cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan, who is playing for the Muzaffarabad Tigers, announced to play in the KPL despite the Indian pressure.
The chairperson of Dilshan’s franchise, Arshad Khan Tanoli, assured to provide all possible facilities and security to the star cricketer. Saying that Dilshan is available to his team for the entire tournament, he asserted that the Sri Lankan star’s participation is a slap on the face of the Indian cricket board.
Other foreign players should also follow Dilshan, he added.
What is KPL?
The Kashmir Premier League is a tournament which was conceived by politician Shehryar Khan Afridi. The tournament will have six teams: Overseas Warriors, Muzaffarabad Tigers, Rawalakot Hawks, Bagh Stallions, Mirpur Royals and Kotli Lions are the six teams in the tournament.
Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal are the skippers of the respective teams.
Each team will have five players from Azad Kashmir.
The matches will be played in Muzaffarabad Cricket Stadium.
The KPL event will continue for 10 days, with six teams vying for the prestigious trophy in 18 matches from August 6 to August 17.