Indian Premier League 2009 February 2, 2009

Pakistan blocks its players from IPL

Cricinfo staff

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IPL schedule yet to be confirmed
  • The 2009 season of the IPL will be held between April 10 and May 24 but the schedule of matches hasn't been fixed yet because the general elections in India are likely to be held during the same period.
  • "The [IPL] dates are April 10 to May 24," IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said. "The problem we have is the dates for national election haven't been announced yet. It's become extremely difficult. For example, if there's a game scheduled in Delhi and there is counting or polling on that day, then we necessarily can't have a match on that day.
  • "This has a big impact on us because we can't hold ticket sales, we can't block anything, in terms of logistics: hotels, rooms and, airlines. We have a tentative schedule, and we're going by that schedule, and taking enough precautions to ensure we are able to overcome."
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Pakistan has barred its players from participating in the IPL after its foreign ministry deemed it was unsafe for the cricketers to travel to India in the wake of the November terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

"We have been informed by the foreign ministry today that the situation is not conducive for Pakistan cricketers to travel to India," sports minister Aftab Jilani told the Associated Press. The sports ministry had last week given clearance to the players to participate in the Indian Twenty20 league, while informing them that their security would be their own and their IPL franchise's responsibility.

"We [the sports ministry] had given the NOC, but the final decision was up to the government," Jilani said. "Ever since these attacks [in Mumbai] the situation has got tense and even Pakistani artists are facing problems in India."

Pakistan's top players, including Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, Sohail Tanvir and Umar Gul, are contracted to various franchises in the league. "All the players who are already signed up with the IPL teams or those who were due to take part in the players auction have been declined permission," Saleem Altaf, the PCB chief executive, told PTI. Altaf said an email had been sent to the IPL about the ministry's decision.

With bilateral relations between the neighbours at a low, franchises had indicated they might trade their Pakistan players during the IPL's one-month-long trading window, which closed last month. No Pakistan players, though, were sold during the window. However, if they are unable to participate in this year's tournament due to government restrictions, they will have to forego their salaries for this season.

Five players - Yasir Hameed, Yasir Arafat, Asim Kamal, Danish Kaneria and Mohammad Hafeez - had also been included in the IPL's list for the auction before the second season, scheduled for February 6. Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, said their names will be withdrawn. "The Pakistan government has decided to inform us, through the Pakistan Cricket Board, no Pakistan player will be allowed to play in this year's IPL," Modi said. "There were five players on the [auction] list but we have removed them."

The two franchises most affected by the absence of Pakistan players will be Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals - both have three on their rosters. Joy Bhattacharya, Kolkata's team director, said they will seek more options from the IPL to counter the development. Bhattacharya said they had already accounted the limited availiability of Pakistan players due to the scheduled ODI series against Australia between April 20 and May 10.

"It impacts very [us] much as we will not have Umar Gul, a fine cricketer," he said. "Even then our strategy for the auction has already been thought of keeping in mind any development like this. While this was not a reality a few days ago it is out in the open now. So the IPL will have to offer options."

The IPL, though, has already provided a possible alternative for the franchises. Teams will be allowed to sign players unsold at the upcoming auction as replacements for those who won't be available for the entire season this year. Also, the amount spent on them will not count towards the franchise's US$2 million cap on player purchases at the auction.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Zulfqar on February 3, 2009, 20:52 GMT

    Pakistan has made the correct move. The PCB should certainly without delay play the pakistani players from the ICL in the Pakistani national side. The ICC is a disgrace and the BCCI is out of order for banning ICL players.World Cricket is a joke now. Pakistan Cricket is finally standing up for itself.

  • Joshua on February 3, 2009, 18:47 GMT

    Its a bit strange really when all countries are comin to India ,i wonder y the pak govt has imposed a ban on their players.I feel srry for PCB as it is being blamed.......well they will certainly miss the exposure and the experience they will gain in this edition

  • ritesh on February 3, 2009, 7:43 GMT

    he he he wat a joke !! not safe to travel to India...

  • Ajanthan on February 3, 2009, 6:57 GMT

    Very well done PCB!! Cricket is not just money. If India can take its own decisions, then the rest of the cricket world should also be able to. If India does not want to play cricket in Pakistan, so should be the same for Pakistan in India. India is now on top of the ranks in the ICC ODI listing, because they have used their domestic ICL/IPL war as hook to demolish cricket in all other countires.

  • Farhan on February 3, 2009, 6:10 GMT

    No, its not a loss of Pakistani players, and i think its a very good and wise decision from Paki Government, and also its a message send to whole world that India is not a safe place to play cricket, but players from all over the world just to come here for only money and that is why they reluctant to go to Pakistan to play cricket.

  • Bobby on February 3, 2009, 4:43 GMT

    Reality is that IPL will lose all its charm without Pakistani players. Pakistani players have always been more popular in India than players from any other country. It is a great decison from Pakistan GOVT and one that was long due. India has failed to support Pakistan on key issues so there is no need to play in India. However from a cricket point of view it is a great loss. This loss takes us back to 90's and you You wonder how would Tendulkar have faced Wasim/Waqar at their prime. Lets also do not forget that winner of IPL last season had 3 Pakistani players in it!! This a good lesson for BCCI.

  • Prasanna on February 3, 2009, 4:24 GMT

    Ha... not good... Looks like Pakistan is doing all they can to accelerate their global isolation... but this move will probably not cause the slightest of ripple in the bigger scheme of things in the ipl... in any case, the super kings will win it this time... dhoni rox!

  • Aly on February 3, 2009, 0:53 GMT

    This is ridiculous - so not only do Pakistani players not get to earn a living like the rest of their counterparts, they are deprived from an international standard of cricket even more.

    Great decision PCB, just to score a cheap political point, you end up screwing the long-term health of our cricket team even further.

  • Asim on February 2, 2009, 21:04 GMT

    IPL will loose the charm due to this decision and under the circumstances I think Pakistan board/govt. did the right thing because the safety of the Pakistani players cannot be guaranteed in India.

    For India they will loose some fan base and teams like Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knighriders and Deccan Chargers will miss Pakistani players dearly. But for Pakistan I think its a blessing in disguise as this way they can keep their players fit for (more important) International matches unlike Australia who have suffered the most after 1st edition of IPL.

    Pakistan should now show the path to other cricketing nations and allow their ICL players back to play International Cricket. Finally some sane decisions coming from Pakistan.

  • Mahek on February 2, 2009, 19:57 GMT

    If players are willing to take responsibility of their lives by travelling to India then they should be allowed to. It does make life easier for the IPL executives who won't have to be at the mercy of the Indian government for allowing Pakistani players to be part of the IPL this season.

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