ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has condemned the “politicisation” of cricket by India and termed it an “unfortunate and regrettable” development.
In a statement on Twitter after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) threatened foreign players for playing in the Kashmir Premier league, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said depriving young Kashmiri players of the opportunity to share the dressing room with big names in cricket is “unfortunate and regrettable”.
“India’s politicisation of cricket cannot be condemned enough,” he added.
Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also slammed the Narendra Modi government on the move.
“This isn’t the first time Modi has put cricket on the line to achieve his nefarious aims. Pressuring Herschelle Gibbs not to participate in the KPL is a continuation of this old practice,” Fawad said while retweeting the South African cricketer who had lashed out at the BCCI.
“We strongly condemn such measures and these will only benefit the Kashmir cause, not harm it,” the minister added.
The BCCI has threatened foreign players through their agents, saying that if they went to Kashmir, the doors of Indian cricket, including the IPL, would be closed for them.
Following the threat from the Indian cricket board, all foreign cricketers withdrew from the event which is set to begin on August 6.
The six foreign cricketers, who have excused themselves from the KPL, are Herschelle Gibbs, Matt Prior, Phil Mustard, Owais Shah, Tenu Best and Monty Panesar.
Sources said that the BCCI officials contacted the English and African cricket boards and threatened to ban their players from entering India if they participated in the KPL.
The English and African boards stopped their players from taking part in the KPL until further orders.
Taking stock of the new situation and considering the security of the foreign players, the KPL management apologised to the remaining foreign players.
However, KPL President Arif Malik has said that the tournament will go ahead as scheduled, adding that Pakistani cricketers will participate.