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Pak cricketers angry over IPL snub

Last updated on: January 19, 2010 20:30 IST

Shahid AfridiPakistan's cricketers who were ignored by the Indian Premier League franchises in Tuesday's auction reacted angrily to the snub, with Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi saying the League'sĀ attitude is disappointing.

Afridi, who was supposed to be the main attraction for franchises at the 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 franchises was disappointing. I feel bad for the Indian people who, I am sure, wanted to see us play in the IPL this year," Afridi added.

Afridi was the first player to be put on auction, with a base price of US $250,000, but no franchise was interested in buying him.

They preferred West Indian, South African and Australian players and ignored all the 11 Pakistani players who were available. They said said Pakistani players' availability was uncertain and they couldn't risk their money on them.

Afridi was among the batch of Pakistan players who played in the first IPL season for Deccan Chargers.

Senior all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, who was also among the players in the auction, said he saw the snub to Pakistani players as a joint strategy between the IPL and Indian government to insult Pakistan players.

"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," Razzaq said.

He also questioned the inclusion of Pakistani players in the auction list if the franchises were not interested in them.

"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 in the inaugural IPL season and played a big role in Rajasthan Royals winning 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 franchises 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 franchises 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.

"We sent names because we thought the franchises wanted us but if it is all about politics and security they should be clear about it," Tanvir said.

And it's not just the players who are feeling hurt, Pakistan's minister for sports Ejaz Jakhrani said he was surprised over the way Pakistani players had been snubbed.

"I am surprised and disappointed at the way we have been treated. It is not a good sign for improving and enhancing sporting ties between the two countries," Jakhrani said.

"We gave them security clearance as well, so it was surprising the way they were snubbed at the auction, because they are the best in the world in Twenty20 cricket," he added.

Jakhrani said he would also ask the PCB to explain why the players were treated in this way even though the government had given required clearances to the players.

PCB chairman Ejaz Butt, however, said he is not bothered by the snub given to Pakistani players.

"It really does not bother us. What difference does it make to us if our players don't play in the IPL this season. They didn't play in the last season as well," Butt said.

The PCB chairman said the responsibility of the board was to clear the road for Pakistani players to make themselves available for the IPL and it had done that.

"We got the required clearances from our government. But after that we can't interfere in anybody's work, so what we say," Butt added.

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," he said.

"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 Test leg-spinner Abdul Qadir said it is time the PCB organised its own league.

"If 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 Test 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 Pakistan board felt the Indians had done wrong 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.

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