The government said on Wednesday it had nothing to do with Pakistani cricketers not finding favour with any Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise.
There were no bids for any of the 11 Pakistani cricketers at Tuesday’s auction in Mumbai for the IPL III season, leading to claims from some players and cricket officials from across the border that they had been kept out at the Indian authorities’ bidding.
“We have absolutely nothing to do with the auction. The owners took the decision for their own reasons,” a home ministry functionary said.
Senior government officials pointed out that there being no bids for Pakistani cricketers actually ran counter to efforts to normalise relations with Pakistan. “It’s not in our interest... Why would we spoil things by barring cricketers from across the border?” an official told DNA.
“It was purely a business decision. Nobody wants to risk investments. Buying them would have meant spending extra money on their security,” a top functionary with a north India-based franchise said.
Ironically, while no team picked any Pakistani player, Kolkata Knight Riders has taken on legendary Pakistani fast bowler Wasim Akram as bowling consultant.
Government officials cite Akram’s case to buttress the point that they have no issues with cricketers from Pakistan playing in the country.