Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi, on Tuesday, denied any role of the government in Pakistani players’ non-selection at the auction and said players from across the border still have a chance to be a part of the cash-awash Twenty20 event.
“Some teams have still not finished their quota of players and some players could drop out, franchises can choose Pakistani players as replacements or to fill vacancies,” he said.
Modi refuted allegations that the whole issue was mishandled by the IPL.
“I don’t think that there’s any mishandling, the franchises decide on their own. We never said in the first place that the government in any which way nudged up in that direction. So, it was a decision that was taken by the franchises and let’s leave it at that,” Modi said.
All the 11 Pakistani players went unsold at the Mumbai auction earlier this month and Modi said it was the franchises’ decision to not pick them.
“There was no pre-decision. They were all worried about the availability and that’s why the Australians weren’t picked up along with many other players and all that we keep hearing now is one story, about not bidding for Pakistani cricketers,” Modi said.
On Monday, Home Minister P Chidambaram had criticised the IPL organisers saying that non-inclusion of Pakistani players was “disservice to cricket”.
IPL invited flak from across the border as well with politicians, cricket officials and former players criticising the treatment meted out to their players.
When asked about PCB’s decision not to release Pakistani players for the future IPL editions, Modi said, “We will discuss this with the Pakistan board officials when we meet them and I am sure the Pakistani players will return.”
On Rajasthan Royals coach Darren Berry’s comment that he was keen to pick Umar Akmal, Modi said, “I can’t comment on something that they should have done or they shouldn’t have done. At the end of the day it was the franchises’ decision, we don’t decide on picking up of any player.”