Pawar urges Bal Thackeray not to oppose Australian players in IPL

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Sunday met Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray to urge him not to oppose the participation of Australian cricketers in the forthcoming Indian Premier League (IPL).

Specially flying down to Mumbai from Aurangabad, Pawar called on Thackeray at the latter’s residence Matoshri, where they were closeted for over two hours.

While Pawar was accompanied by Indian cricket board chief Shashank Manohar, Thackeray was joined by son Uddhav who drove down from Pune for the meeting.

Over a fortnight ago, the Shiv Sena had made it clear that it would not permit Australian players to play in Maharashtra for the ongoing attacks on Indians in that country.

Though Pawar declined to comment about the meeting, there were indications that the mission may have failed to bear the desired results.

Interacting with mediapersons, Manohar said that “we presented our viewpoint before Thackeray on this critical issue”.

“We also explained to them the format of the IPL teams and matches and how there were one or two Australian players in each team. He agreed to consider the issue in a couple of days,” Manohar said.

The IPL will also make a presentation on the issue before Thackeray, after which he would clarify whether the Sena would permit the Australians to take part.

Earlier on Sunday, Pawar had said that sports and politics must not be mixed and also announced his plans to meet Thackeray over the issue.

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