The biggest shock of the IPL auction for Season 3 held on Monday was that not one of the 11 Pakistani players who were up for grabs were sold. Known T20 specialists like Shahid Afridi, who captains Pakistan in this version of the game and has been in devastating form, and Sohail Tanvir, came under the hammer but there were no bids made. Afridi says it s politics.
Afridi, in fact, was the first player to be put on auction with a base price of $250,000, but no franchise was interested in buying him. The second player up, Caribbean Keiron Pollard, had four teams bid up to $750,000 to force a silent tie-breaker. Pollard went on to become the most expensive IPL player ever with Mumbai Indians shelling out $2.75 million. Kiwi Shane Bond found himself much wanted too, but no one wanted the Pakistanis. Not even when they got a chance to grab players at their base price.
No real explanation has been given for this omission either by IPL chief Lalit Modi or the team owners. Both said the availability of the Pakistani players was in doubt and the owners said so they couldn’t risk their money on them.
The players are disappointed. Sohail Tanvir described it as an insult for all of Pakistan” and Afridi said that it was a very negative signal. He pointed out that sports, especially cricket, helped get countries closer and that cricket was a religion in India and Pakistan. As a world champion team we expected to be a part of the IPL. Most of the franchises wanted to take us but may be because of the pressure on them by the government that they overlooked us finally. It is a very negative signal and should not have happened this way. We have a huge fan base in India and they love to see Pakistani cricketers, he said.
Afridi said he had just arrived back in Pakistan from playing T20 cricket in Australia and was yet to meet his teammates as they had not arrived.
I think IPL in India has a different flavour from playing domestic T20 in India. This was also a good experience and my team has already qualified for the Champions League…a lot of international cricketers have also come here. Since T20 is a format to enjoy, you enjoy it irrespective of where you play.
Afridi said the contracts of the Pakistan players with the IPL franchises were over so they needed to go back into the auction.