As the Pakistan team touched down on India on Saturday, there was some bad news awaiting them. They will not be part of the auction for the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The auction is tentatively slated for February 3.
Reliable sources in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and IPL franchises have revealed to this paper that the players from across the border will not be part of the cash-rich tournament, the sixth edition of which is scheduled to be held in April-May next year.
At an IPL workshop conducted in Jodhpur over the last two days, the franchisees have been told categorically that no cricketer from Pakistan will be part of the auction. In fact, they have been given a list of the players who will feature in the auction. It contains rejects of the past auctions and those released by the franchises in October. The Pakistanis are not part of the list.
IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla and chief operating officer Sundar Raman were among the officials who conducted the workshop.
Said a franchise official, “We were always given to understand that Pakistan players will not be part of the auction. There was never an occasion when any of the franchises had any notion that they will be in the auction pool. Also, there are not too many vacant slots among the franchises. Neither are they left with too much fund to buy a high-profile Pakistani player. We don’t expect the IPL 6 auction to be too big anyway.”
The list submitted to the teams is, of course, not final. The IPL authorities have told the teams that there could be an updated list in the first week of January. Not that the franchisees are expecting too many changes. Each team is allowed a pool of 33 players, out of which 11 can be overseas cricketers.
Now that the cricketing ties between the traditional rivals have been somewhat normalised, with India agreeing to host them in a short series, there has been intense speculation over the likely presence of Pakistan in the T20 summer extravaganza. However, the IPL authorities do not seem to think so.
Pakistan team arrives
The Pakistan Twenty20 squad led by Mohammed Hafeez on Saturday reached Bangalore, where they will be playing the first of the two T20s on December 25. The PIA flight first arrived in New Delhi late in the afternoon and the squad was received by senior officials of the Pakistan High Commission and BCCI officials. They later took a connecting flight from the Capital to Bangalore. “We were received by the officials of Pakistan High Commission as well as BCCI chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty. The players got a warm welcome and were presented with lovely bouquets,” PCB GM (Media Affairs) Nadeem Sarwar, who is accompanying the squad, said.