A decision on the Pakistani cricketers’ participation in the next Indian Premier League would be taken at the event’s Governing Council meeting on October 14, says IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla.
Pakistani cricketers have not participated in the IPL since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks but Shukla said it does not mean that players from across the border won’t be allowed at all.
“This decision has to be taken by the Governing Council and Governing Council will have to take a view on it. It is not that Pakistan as a country has been banned in IPL,” Shukla said.
“Their (Pakistani) referees’ services have been utilised. Some franchises have taken Pakistani former players as coaches also and supporting staff as well. So it is not that Pakistan as a whole has been banned or something. There is no question of banning anyone,” he asserted
Shukla said in the final analysis, however, it is for the IPL franchises to take a decision on Pakistani players.
“About Pakistani players, it is purely upto the franchises to decide whether they want to take Pakistani players or not. And we have to keep certain considerations in mind before deciding about it,” he said.
Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan met in Mohali during the two sides’ World Cup semifinal and advocated resumption of bilateral cricket ties and Shukla said the BCCI shares the sentiment.
“Definitely in Mohali, both Prime Ministers wanted cricket ties to be resumed and so did the foreign minister of Pakistan when she visited. She spoke to me about it,” he said.
Calling Pakistan Cricket Board a friend of BCCI, Shukla said, “We have worked together. The question is about the circumstances and certain issues… in terms of security. Those issues are to be sorted out. Then only, we can think of it.”
“At the same time, there is no slot available. If there is slot available, then all these things can be discussed. Everybody wants cricket ties to be revived, to be resumed but slot has to be there to resume the ties.
“Secondly the atmosphere should be congenial because I am of the view that we should play on each other’s soil instead of playing on third venue. There is no point on playing on third venue. It better to play on each others soil. So that needs to be worked out,” he added.
Asked about the criticism against IPL that the league causes fatigue and injury among players, Shukla said, “The BCCI is the best run board in the world. It is making money but money for what? Money not for administrators to enjoy. Money to be ploughed back into cricket. Whatever money BCCI or IPL is earning, it is being ploughed back to promote the game.”
On the issue of transparency in BCCI, he said, “BCCI is already a very transparent body. Every AGM, all their accounts are given to the public and each and every bit of BCCI is covered by media.”
“It is in the complete glare of media. So not even a single thing can be concealed from media. So where is the question of not having transparency,” he added.
Shukla argued that the BCCI pays tax to the government and it is unfair to criticise it for being a rich body. Shukla said last year alone the cricket body paid Rs 249 crore as tax.
“It has become a fashion to criticise BCCI. BCCI bashing is the most fashionable thing. Whoever comes pushes a punch,” Shukla said.
Asked about his priorities as IPL chairman, Shukla said several pending issues will be discussed during the October 14 Governing Council meet.
“Those issues will be decided in the meeting and some decision will be taken about IPL 5. Some pending issues are also there, like the cancellation of Kochi franchise, so what would happen, whether 10 teams will be paying or nine teams will be playing.
“If 10 teams are playing, then what will be the fate of Kochi players who have already contracted. So that will be discussed.”
Talking about injuries of players in IPL and it affecting international cricket, he said it is a myth.
“During IPL also, lot many players get injured and they were not able to play for their respective teams. Injury is part of the game and that is why injury management has to be the focus as far as the IPL is concerned and other bilateral series are concerned.
“Saying that players are being forced to play even if they are injured, even if they are fatigued is wrong. It is a myth which is being unnecessarily been propagated.
“Secondly, IPL alone should not be blamed for injuries. During these bilateral series also, lot many people have got injured, who were not injured in IPL. So injuries can happen any point of,” he added.