India news April 9, 2012

Pakistan's IPL participation dependent on bilateral ties - Shukla


The participation of Pakistan cricketers in the IPL is dependent on the resumption of India-Pakistan cricket ties, according to the IPL chairman and BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla. He was speaking to Geo News channel on Sunday, the day Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari and Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh held talks in New Delhi.

"No one is against Pakistan or Pakistani players in India, or else we would not have allowed Pakistani commentators or umpires in IPL 5," Shukla said. "Everything is tied to the resumption of bilateral cricket ties between the two countries. Once that happens, I think everything will happen automatically. The IPL functions under the BCCI and when bilateral relations resume between the two boards, the IPL will also not be a problem for Pakistani players."

Cricket relations between India and Pakistan are deadlocked at the moment, with the BCCI generally shifting the onus of resuming bilateral ties to the government. However, several reports following the meeting between the countries' political leaders suggest that progress in cricketing relations depends on the two boards. The Telegraph said that an "almost certain" November visit by the Indian prime minister to Pakistan would be the barometer of ties between the two countries.

Pakistan cricketers took part in the first IPL in 2008. However, the terrorist attack in Mumbai in November that year suspended bilateral cricket ties between the two countries and also, without any official announcement, the involvement of Pakistan's cricketers in the IPL. Shukla said the two boards were in touch over the issue and that new PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf had "made all the right moves to get the ball rolling". "But until something definite happens it would not be proper for me to comment on when we can resume playing cricket again," Shukla said.

The major obstacles to the resumption of bilateral ties, Shukla said, was India's hectic international calendar and the security situation in Pakistan - the country has not hosted a Test team following the March 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore. "The hectic international schedule of the Indian team is an issue and we have to see and find a slot for even the Pakistan team to tour India. Secondly, and more importantly, the PCB needs to do something and convince other cricket nations at the level of the International Cricket Council that it is safe and secure to play in Pakistan … they need to do more and get the support of leading nations like Australia, England and South Africa."

Following Pakistan's tour to India in 2007, it is India's turn to tour Pakistan but Shukla made it clear that a series on neutral territory - where Pakistan have hosted four of their 'home' series since the Lahore attack - is not an option for the moment. "We feel that it is no use if both countries play at a neutral venue. It serves no purpose. If we play, it must be in each other's countries. We have no problems touring Pakistan but first the PCB needs to win the confidence of the ICC and member boards."

The ICC's Future Tours Programme has several periods marked out for series between India and Pakistan, but doesn't mention any details - a tentative number of games and which formats.

The PCB has also been pushing for the inclusion of teams from Pakistan in the Champions League T20, where the previous winner received $2.5m. "Obviously we want our team to be there and play like other teams are," Subhan Ahmed, the PCB's chief operating officer, told ESPNcricinfo. "The decision to invite us is something that is in their [the organisers - India, Australia and South Africa] hands. We can't force them. We had widely raised this issue on various forums but I believe the only difficultly we are facing is the bilateral ties with India and everything is connected with it."

"Once the bilateral ties between Pakistan and India are revived, all these issues will automatically be resolved. So our priority is to revive Indo-Pak cricket." The inaugural Champions League T20 was to be held in 2008 but was cancelled due to the Mumbai attacks.

Commenting on the possible involvement of Pakistan's Twenty20 champions, Sialkot Stallions, in the 2012 edition of the Champions League, Shukla said, "If we [are talking] about the Champions League, then just wait and see for a few months. I don't think we should be pessimistic about Indo-Pak bilateral relations, remain optimistic ... Pakistani players have special talents and everyone likes to see them play. But we need to be patient and wait for good things to happen."

Additional reporting by Umar Farooq

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 11, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    Well pakistan has won 22 odis as compared to india's 21 in the last 10 years and pakistan has dominated India in every part of the world. In india pak has won 17 odis as compared to india's 10. Record speaks for themselves. Pak has been better than India !

  • Khizr on April 11, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    "We should be patient and wait for the good things to happen". How about making good things happen. BCCI rules the world of Cricket and can have a very positive role to play in bringing the two nations closer. When there are more people trying to make good things happen, bad things will be marginalized.

  • narsimha on April 11, 2012, 4:26 GMT

    GETSETGOPAK-Agreed in over all pak leads but majority of those wins were achieved in SHARAAH in 80s-90s , we all KNEW than why that venue was banned of hosting international cricket for decates , how ever AT THAT TIME ur team was blessed with some great bowlers in AKRAM, WAQAR , IMRAAN , BUT from the last decade onwards things reversed, more over now a days ur team is totally dependant on spin , AJMALS, RAHMAANS, AFRIDIS , but when playing with IND spin doesnt metter as it proved in SL, WC, & IN DHAKA .

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2012, 19:35 GMT

    As a neutral looking in I have to say india are being very stubborn in their approach and its downright ludicrous in what they're saying

  • DaGame on April 10, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    @getsetgopk..I am not funny..I am stating truth. I am not denying that Pakistan was better team in late 80s and early 90s and India has been much better in 21st Century. Regarding total matches won by Pakistan..that too most of them in can keep that record and we can keep all silverwares Asia Cups, T20 WorldCup and 2011 WC and all big game wins. BTW, you should be happy that BCCI didnt play against Pakistan since 3-4 years when India was on top, which it still is just in Asia.

  • Jawwad on April 10, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    @Mahesh Dhamane - Of course. SRK still has a home in Pakistan. So as Deleep Kumar and the Kapoor's. Do you believe all 3 families at one time resided in the city of Peshawar?

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    @DaGameChanger l0lzzz..:P

  • Muthuvel on April 10, 2012, 12:05 GMT

    Finally Sharada is using her clearly apparent skills for the right story, the author puts the Reverse spin when she says " (Everything depends on Ind-pak bilateral ties), The inaugural Champions League T20 was to be held in 2008 but was cancelled due to the Mumbai attacks." There we go, its politics over cricket, clearly everyone knows the reasons. Pak should not complain, one of their teams did visit us in 2008.

  • Muthuvel on April 10, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    Pak people are seen to dislike india often, then why should India have cricket ties with them ? there is no need for them to play in IPL, its an indian domestic tournament. There have been so many pakistani teams that visit India quite often, we dont realy need their cricket team.

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    Can anyone explain me the 'link' between bilateral ties and Pak player's playing IPL? What explanation does this statement give about exclusion of Pak players in IPL - '...or else we would not have allowed Pakistani commentators or umpires in IPL 5'. Mr. Shukla sees no point playing bilateral series at neutral venue... although it is not ideal but if Aus can play against Pak in Eng, SA, SL in UAE, why not Ind? Why deprive millions of fans to watch the games between arch rivals on TV just because the stadiums are not guaranteed 100% full??

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