Pakistan’s nine hockey players, who were to feature in the HIL, returned home on Wednesday. They were asked to leave, citing high tension in the country. The players seemed to be in a good mood and shared memories of their short stay here. Mumbai Magicians’ Imran Butt said politics should be kept away from sports.
“They should not be mixed. We are satisfied and hopeful that we will return soon and play in India in the near future,” Butt told DNA before boarding the flight on Wednesday evening. Mahmood Rashid, Muhammad Tousiq, Mohammed Rizwan Sr., Mohammad Rizwan Jr., Kashif Shah, Muhammed Irfan and Shafqat Rasool were the other Pakistan players who headed home.
“For the time being, they have been asked to stay back in India, but there is tremendous pressure on the channel to not use their services,” confirmed an official associated with the channel.
“Given the kind of tension and the sentiment in our country, it is difficult to keep these two legends on India’s shores. We value their contribution to our channel, but keeping in mind the situation, it is in everyone’s interest to play safe for now,” added the official.
DNA did try to track the whereabouts of Raja and Akram and found that they were on their way to Ranchi via Delhi. It would be very interesting to see whether they will commentate in the Ranchi ODI.