January 19, 2010

Conspiracy of silence

Not a single Pakistan cricketer has attracted a bid in the IPL auction

The facts don't fit with Lalit Modi's explanation © AFP

Not a single Pakistan cricketer has attracted a bid in the IPL auction. Can this be genuine? Lalit Modi doesn't see anything strange in it, others haven't attracted bids either he says. But which other country with Pakistan's track record in Twenty20 cricket has been blanked?

Let's examine the facts. The current crop of Pakistan players were among the winners of the 2009 World Twenty20 and finalists in the previous one. Lahore Badshahs won the ICL. Pakistan cricketers featured prominently and influentially in the inaugral IPL tournament, and they are some of the best Twenty20 players in the world. Shahid Afridi, at the very least, is a star attraction.

The facts, Mr Modi, don't fit with your explanation. Why were Pakistan players put through the charade of entering the auction when they were to be boycotted by the franchises? Undoubtedly, politics are in play and Pakistan's cricketers are pawns in the South Asian game of battle chess.

Once more, Pakistan cricket is being marginalised with the PCB and the ICC watching impotently. The wall of silence that has greeted Pakistan's players in the IPL auction isn't a misfortune. It reeks of conspiracy.

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Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here