- Pakistan reacts strongly to development, says 'politicisation' of sports is unfortunate and regrettable
- Former South Africa cricketer says Indian cricket board bringing 'political agenda with Pakistan into the equation'
Former South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs has said that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has warned him against participating in the first-ever edition of the Kashmir Premier League (KPL).
Gibbs tweeted that the BCCI is trying to prevent him from playing in the KPL, and bringing their “political agenda with Pakistan into the equation.”
Gibbs, who has been part of the Indian Premier League (IPL), first as a player, and then as a coach, accused the BCCI of "threatening to ban his entry for cricket-related work in India" if he participates in the league.
“Completely unnecessary of the BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me playing in the KPL,” the Proteas great, who is now a part of KPL franchise Overseas Warriors, said.
“[They are] also threatening me saying they won’t allow me entry into India for any cricket related work. Ludicrous.”
Later, speaking to an Indian cricket blog, SportsKeeda, he revealed that the person threatening him was BCCI Secretary Jay Shah.
“Shah sent the message to Graeme Smith, [the former captain and now the Director of Cricket in South Africa], who passed it on to me,” he said.
A day earlier, former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif had made similar remarks in his tweet.
“BCCI was 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," said Latif.
Geo News reported that so far six foreign cricketers including, Gibbs, Matt Prior, Phil Mustard, Owais Shah, Tenu Best and Monty Panser have excused themselves from participating in the KPL.
However, former Sri Lankan cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan, who is playing for the Muzaffarabad Tigers, has stood up against Indian pressure and announced to play in the KPL despite boycott threats.
Meanwhile, the federal government and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have reacted strongly to the development.
In its statement, the PCB said, “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 cricket board also vowed to 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.
Federal Minister for Information Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that this is not the first time that Modi's government has put cricket at stake for its nefarious politics.
“The pressure on Gibbs not to participate in the KPL is a continuation of this old practice. We strongly condemn these measures. There will be no harm, only benefit.”
Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri condemned India’s politicisation of cricket, saying, “Depriving young Kashmiri players of the opportunity to share the dressing room with big names in is unfortunate and regrettable.”
The inaugural edition of KPL is set to start from August 6 in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The tournament comprising of six franchises will conclude on August 16.
The T20 league will feature a mix of Pakistan's domestic and international talent.