Modi 'sure' Pakistan players will return
Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, has said he is "sure" Pakistan players will return in future editions of the league - possibly even for the next tournament if other players are injured or unavailable - despite none of them attracting any bids from the franchises during the auction on January 19. Angered by the manner in which the 11 Pakistan players were ignored, Pakistan sports minister Aijaz Hussain Jahkrani and PCB chairman Ijaz Butt had said that their players would stay away from the Champions League Twenty20 this year and the 2011 season of the IPL.
"We will discuss this with the Pakistan board officials when we meet them and I am sure the Pakistani players will return," Modi told Indian television channel CNN-IBN. "Some teams have still not finished their quota of players and some players can still drop out. In that case, franchises can choose Pakistani players as replacements."
Modi also reacted to the Indian home minister P Chidambaram's comments that the non-selection of Pakistan players in the IPL was a "disservice to cricket" by saying it was purely the decision of the franchises.
"I don't think that there's any mishandling, the franchisees decide on their own," he said. "We never said in the first place that the government in any which way nudged up in that direction so it was a decision that was taken by the franchisees and let's leave it at that. There was no pre-decision…They were all worried about the availability and that's why the Australians weren't picked up along with many other players and all that we keep hearing now is one story - about not bidding for Pakistani cricketers."
Both the Indian government and the BCCI were quick to distance themselves from the results of the auction after Pakistan players reacted with anger. The Pakistan sports minister had also complained to his Indian counterpart and the PCB raised the issue with the ICC. There have also been calls for the Pakistan hockey team to pull out of next month's World Cup in India, and a parliamentary committee canceled a trip to India in protest.