The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have once again indulged in a tussle. The fuss started when the PCB announced the conduct of a tournament, Kashmir Premier League (KPL) in Pakistan later this month. However, the fire ignited only when former South Africa cricketer, Herschelle Gibbs, who is expected to play in this ‘controversial’ league, tweeted:
“Completely unnecessary of the @BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me playing in the @kpl_20. Also threatening me saying they won’t allow me entry into India for any cricket related work. Ludicrous.”
The KPL is a six-team franchise tournament that has been cleared by the Pakistan government and most importantly, approved by the Pak Board. The league will kickstart from August 6 with the final on August 17. Each team represents the cities in the region – Kotli, Bagh, Mirpur, Rawalakot, Muzaffarabad and one team of overseas players. According to a release sent by the organisers, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Kamran Akmal, and Shadab Khan will lead their respective sides.
Apart from Gibbs, many other former foreign players across countries are set to take part in this newly-drafted tournament. Some of the key overseas players include the likes of Monty Panesar, Matt Prior, Phil Mustard, Tino Best, and Tillakaratne Dilshan.
BCCI’s response on the KPL saga
A player agent in England has informed the tournament managers that the BCCI had called up the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) and told them to take back their players from the league, else those players won’t be able to work in India.
“While one can neither confirm nor deny the veracity of the statement made by a former player who has figured in a CBI investigation into match-fixing earlier, the PCB must understand that even if Gibbs’ statement is assumed to be true, the BCCI would be well within their rights to take decisions with respect to the cricketing ecosystem in India. The fact that the Indian cricketing ecosystem is the most sought after for cricketing opportunities globally, should not be envied by the PCB,” a BCCI official told ANI.
In the recent developments, former England spinner and current commentator, Monty Panesar has withdrawn his name from the KPL.