January 22, 2010

No conspiracy against Pakistan

The times we live in are to blame for the IPL's rejection of Pakistani players. Also: why the deal with Google is a landmark
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There was a time not so long ago when your address defined which cricket matches you could see. As kids growing up in Hyderabad we were thankful for what we got; a three-day game sometimes, when to our great joy our school gave us a holiday to be able to go and watch. You had the radio, of course, but as I later discovered, when a commentator knows his audience cannot watch what he is describing, he takes the odd liberty!

Then television arrived and while that opened up a beautiful new world for us cricket watchers, you could only see games that were beamed into your country. Sometimes you only got the highlights but you were thankful for that. Our world was still bounded; what we saw was still controlled by someone else. Luckily, satellite television arrived and you could watch almost everything -provided, of course, you had the time. One constraint had been removed.

At the time we thought it was as good as it got. But this week I heard something that's got me all excited because it makes the viewer king, a notion that was ingrained in me when I began a career in broadcasting.

What the IPL-Google deal does is make geographical boundaries irrelevant in the area of live sport. So my classmate in Japan, who was starved of his regular fix, can now watch a game in real time as long as he has a workable broadband line - a problem that, unlike me, he doesn't need to worry about.

It gets better. He can now access an online library free of cost. I recognised the value of that when I searched for the amazing catch Manish Pandey took in the final of the Ranji Trophy (by the way, another example of a good pitch producing a good match). It was worth the search.

But far beyond allowing people to watch cricket free of cost, I think it will also lead to a democratisation of talent. If you are good, you can now prove it.

My classmate in Japan, who was starved of his regular fix, can now watch a game in real time as long as he has a workable broadband line - a problem that, unlike me, he doesn't need to worry about

Let me explain. When I was growing up, there was the sub-editor in a newspaper who could, if he chose to, deny you the opportunity of appearing in print. And if he was benevolent, he would let you through, but he could rewrite your article, even chop it and make it look quite different from what it was intended to be. The blog changed that; it gave talent the space it needed. You may not have had the reach but at least you had an outlet. It was empowering.

You can now do that with television content. With an online library you can edit footage, store it in the manner you want and show that you can be smarter than the guy who edits for television. Better still, you can mute the commentary and put on your own and judge for yourself whether you are indeed better than the guys on television you are stuck with. It won't surprise me at all if that does indeed happen, since some of the best analysis I have read on cricket comes from blogs intelligent people write. It is a revolution and it is round the corner.

The announcement came a day after the IPL franchises chose to ignore cricketers from Pakistan. I was looking forward to watching some fine young men in action and these cricketers have a right to feel done in. The key question, though, is: done in by whom? The franchises have a right to select the team they want, even if it is not the best possible, because they have to wear many hats. They cannot alienate fans, they don't want to create a security issue, and they do not want any more uncertainty - part of the reason some fine Australian cricketers were turned down too.

I fear these players are being done in by the cage we are imprisoned in. We live in times of violence and hatred; there are many people who seek peace but equally some who seek to deny us what we thought was given. Sport cannot exist in isolation, cannot fly free from this cage of reality. We would love the two to be separated but that has never happened. In times of peace, or relative peace, we could produce the pathbreaking tours of 2004 and 2006. Now we are all pawns in the drama our subcontinent is enacting and the cricketers are merely more visible pawns. The conspiracy that Abdul Razzaq talks about is the reality of our times. The IPL will be poorer for the absence of some extraordinarily gifted cricketers, but this is just another victory for those that infect us with hatred. To believe there is a conspiracy against cricketers from Pakistan is wrong. It is the times we live in.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Super-Sports.co.uk on January 22, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    From a cricketing point of view, why would a franchise not want a player of Afridi's calibre in their team? Infact, players to name a few, Tanvir, Gul, who have proven to be match winners not picked in any teams? I think that the IPL organisers need to stay away from Politics and concentrate on picking a team which can deliver and win the tournament.

    Tomorrow it might be another nation with whom ties have been jeopordised, so when it comes down to the IPL acution, will franchises bid for them?

  • NDakota on January 22, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    Harsha, I strongly disagree with you. The real problem is about treatment given to Pakistan players by the respective franchises and IPL. Why did the IPL and fracnhises included these playes for the auction if no one is ineterested in them ??? As far as I know, at least one nomination from a franchise is needed for a player to be included in the auction. That's where the problem lies. I am Indian, but I definitely beleive there's some conspiracy mastermined my Lalit Modi and franchise owners to elude pakistani's from IPL. This act by the IPL team cannot be termed as a problem with the times we live in !!!!!. Shame on you harsha that you have ovellooked this fact in your article

  • VivaVizag on January 22, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    If there is a 'conspiracy', it is actually on the part of individuals who have difficulty comprehending how market economics and corporations operate. There are 11 openings and 66 players, and the math suggests 80% can't make the cut. Also, a player is bought by the franchise with a view that he will add value to the brand (ex: Pietersen and Royal Challengers) and the investment on him is recouped in the long run. Unfortunately, after 26/11, the fact is Pakistanis are the least marketable faces in India. So instead of getting overly sentimental, one needs to apply some rational thought process. Why should anyone risk that huge money again on Afridi after IPL-1 when Boycott's grandmother would have done better than him!

  • vinitvishal on January 22, 2010, 12:04 GMT

    To all the Pakistan Team supporter , I have one thing to say. Inspite of being an Indian, I support Pakistan when they play against a neutral country.And i am sure most of Indians will do the same and vice versa . But the issue here is beyond supporting a team or players. After the 26/11 Attacks , Many regional parties as well as public sentiment is highly against Pakistan. Over that a continuous threat of another similar terrorist attack (directly or indirectly linked to Pakistan ) is looming over India. Considering these facts or as Harsha says "It is the times we live in" , safety of Pakistani player in India cannot be guaranteed . God forbid , if while IPL 3 or common wealth games witness another similar attack , public anguish will first outburst on Pakistani player and the franchise playing them. So , I request everyone Including Indian & Pakistani supporters to refrain from making it a political issue and bitter our already complicated relationship.

  • VivaVizag on January 22, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    If there is a 'conspiracy', it is actually on the part of individuals who have difficulty comprehending how market economics and corporations operate. There are 11 openings and 66 players, and the math suggests 80% can't make the cut. Also, a player is bought by the franchise with a view that he will add value to the brand (ex: Pietersen and Royal Challengers) and the investment on him is recouped in the long run. Unfortunately, after 26/11, the fact is Pakistanis are the least marketable faces in India. So instead of getting overly sentimental, one needs to apply some rational thought process. Why should anyone risk that huge money again on Afridi after IPL-1 when Boycott's grandmother would have done better than him!

  • VivaVizag on January 22, 2010, 12:02 GMT

    If there is a 'conspiracy', it is actually on the part of individuals who have difficulty comprehending how market economics and corporations operate. There are 11 openings and 66 players, and the math suggests 80% can't make the cut. Also, a player is bought by the franchise with a view that he will add value to the brand (ex: Pietersen and Royal Challengers) and the investment on him is recouped in the long run. Unfortunately, after 26/11, the fact is Pakistanis are the least marketable faces in India. So instead of getting overly sentimental, one needs to apply some rational thought process. Why should anyone risk that huge money again on Afridi after IPL-1 when Boycott's grandmother would have done better than him!

  • Patriot_Pakistani on January 22, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    I can see most of the people already supporting Pakistan players and smelling conspiracy in theri exclusion. Let's see what BCCI and Lalit Modi do when time comes for Pakistani domestic T20 champs inclusion in the next Champions League....no franchises will be involved there...their 'will' to include Pakistan will surely be tested!!

  • JayK on January 22, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    Jay, from India. It is very disappointing and absolutely irritating that the Pakistani players are not playing this time in the IPL, and people are trying to rationalise corporate whims. World Champions or not, the individual talent that Pakistani players like Afridi, Gul, and these days Aamer, or Umar possess is a sheer joy to watch. And IPL 2010 would be poorer without them, and we would be missing out.

    Agreed, these teams are owned by corporates and they decide whom to take. But please don't forget that corporates use City names to get fans. Who would have supported Ambani sans Mumbai, or ShahRukh without Kolkata? So, they should also pay the spectators and Pak players some respect, and not just team up and exclude them.

    However, I think, confusing some corporate guys vanities with the nation, and blaming India for everything is absolutely not right from the Pakistan point of view. just like you, we also love watching your cricketers play, and are feeling equally bad.

  • 777aditya on January 22, 2010, 11:57 GMT

    Secondly, business-wise its a false ploy by IPL as it will lose on viewership in Pakistan - I dont really think any Pak TV will switch on to watch IPL matches - stupid decision really by IPL.

  • 777aditya on January 22, 2010, 11:53 GMT

    PLEASE ALLOW PAK PLAYERS TO PLAY IN INDIA

    I am an ardent fan of Indian cricket, but it feels rather sad to hear the note of resignation in Harsha's otherwise cheerful words. I think the biggest loser is cricket if proven performers like Afridi, Razzaq, Ameer, Asif, Akmal brothers, Tanveer, Rana, Malik, Butt, Farhat, and a host of other super-talented Pakistani players dont get to play IPL. This surely is no "peace demonstration" by the Indian Government by not allowing such talented players to display their skills. IPL is certainly a lot poorer without the effervescent presence of India's traditional rivals. The first edition was a hit because Pak players were allowed. The second was a damp squib as IPL was not played at home in India and again due to the abscence of Pak players. I think IPL will surely die a premature death if it continues with its naive exclusiveness.

  • Super-Sports.co.uk on January 22, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    From a cricketing point of view, why would a franchise not want a player of Afridi's calibre in their team? Infact, players to name a few, Tanvir, Gul, who have proven to be match winners not picked in any teams? I think that the IPL organisers need to stay away from Politics and concentrate on picking a team which can deliver and win the tournament.

    Tomorrow it might be another nation with whom ties have been jeopordised, so when it comes down to the IPL acution, will franchises bid for them?

  • NDakota on January 22, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    Harsha, I strongly disagree with you. The real problem is about treatment given to Pakistan players by the respective franchises and IPL. Why did the IPL and fracnhises included these playes for the auction if no one is ineterested in them ??? As far as I know, at least one nomination from a franchise is needed for a player to be included in the auction. That's where the problem lies. I am Indian, but I definitely beleive there's some conspiracy mastermined my Lalit Modi and franchise owners to elude pakistani's from IPL. This act by the IPL team cannot be termed as a problem with the times we live in !!!!!. Shame on you harsha that you have ovellooked this fact in your article

  • VivaVizag on January 22, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    If there is a 'conspiracy', it is actually on the part of individuals who have difficulty comprehending how market economics and corporations operate. There are 11 openings and 66 players, and the math suggests 80% can't make the cut. Also, a player is bought by the franchise with a view that he will add value to the brand (ex: Pietersen and Royal Challengers) and the investment on him is recouped in the long run. Unfortunately, after 26/11, the fact is Pakistanis are the least marketable faces in India. So instead of getting overly sentimental, one needs to apply some rational thought process. Why should anyone risk that huge money again on Afridi after IPL-1 when Boycott's grandmother would have done better than him!

  • vinitvishal on January 22, 2010, 12:04 GMT

    To all the Pakistan Team supporter , I have one thing to say. Inspite of being an Indian, I support Pakistan when they play against a neutral country.And i am sure most of Indians will do the same and vice versa . But the issue here is beyond supporting a team or players. After the 26/11 Attacks , Many regional parties as well as public sentiment is highly against Pakistan. Over that a continuous threat of another similar terrorist attack (directly or indirectly linked to Pakistan ) is looming over India. Considering these facts or as Harsha says "It is the times we live in" , safety of Pakistani player in India cannot be guaranteed . God forbid , if while IPL 3 or common wealth games witness another similar attack , public anguish will first outburst on Pakistani player and the franchise playing them. So , I request everyone Including Indian & Pakistani supporters to refrain from making it a political issue and bitter our already complicated relationship.

  • VivaVizag on January 22, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    If there is a 'conspiracy', it is actually on the part of individuals who have difficulty comprehending how market economics and corporations operate. There are 11 openings and 66 players, and the math suggests 80% can't make the cut. Also, a player is bought by the franchise with a view that he will add value to the brand (ex: Pietersen and Royal Challengers) and the investment on him is recouped in the long run. Unfortunately, after 26/11, the fact is Pakistanis are the least marketable faces in India. So instead of getting overly sentimental, one needs to apply some rational thought process. Why should anyone risk that huge money again on Afridi after IPL-1 when Boycott's grandmother would have done better than him!

  • VivaVizag on January 22, 2010, 12:02 GMT

    If there is a 'conspiracy', it is actually on the part of individuals who have difficulty comprehending how market economics and corporations operate. There are 11 openings and 66 players, and the math suggests 80% can't make the cut. Also, a player is bought by the franchise with a view that he will add value to the brand (ex: Pietersen and Royal Challengers) and the investment on him is recouped in the long run. Unfortunately, after 26/11, the fact is Pakistanis are the least marketable faces in India. So instead of getting overly sentimental, one needs to apply some rational thought process. Why should anyone risk that huge money again on Afridi after IPL-1 when Boycott's grandmother would have done better than him!

  • Patriot_Pakistani on January 22, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    I can see most of the people already supporting Pakistan players and smelling conspiracy in theri exclusion. Let's see what BCCI and Lalit Modi do when time comes for Pakistani domestic T20 champs inclusion in the next Champions League....no franchises will be involved there...their 'will' to include Pakistan will surely be tested!!

  • JayK on January 22, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    Jay, from India. It is very disappointing and absolutely irritating that the Pakistani players are not playing this time in the IPL, and people are trying to rationalise corporate whims. World Champions or not, the individual talent that Pakistani players like Afridi, Gul, and these days Aamer, or Umar possess is a sheer joy to watch. And IPL 2010 would be poorer without them, and we would be missing out.

    Agreed, these teams are owned by corporates and they decide whom to take. But please don't forget that corporates use City names to get fans. Who would have supported Ambani sans Mumbai, or ShahRukh without Kolkata? So, they should also pay the spectators and Pak players some respect, and not just team up and exclude them.

    However, I think, confusing some corporate guys vanities with the nation, and blaming India for everything is absolutely not right from the Pakistan point of view. just like you, we also love watching your cricketers play, and are feeling equally bad.

  • 777aditya on January 22, 2010, 11:57 GMT

    Secondly, business-wise its a false ploy by IPL as it will lose on viewership in Pakistan - I dont really think any Pak TV will switch on to watch IPL matches - stupid decision really by IPL.

  • 777aditya on January 22, 2010, 11:53 GMT

    PLEASE ALLOW PAK PLAYERS TO PLAY IN INDIA

    I am an ardent fan of Indian cricket, but it feels rather sad to hear the note of resignation in Harsha's otherwise cheerful words. I think the biggest loser is cricket if proven performers like Afridi, Razzaq, Ameer, Asif, Akmal brothers, Tanveer, Rana, Malik, Butt, Farhat, and a host of other super-talented Pakistani players dont get to play IPL. This surely is no "peace demonstration" by the Indian Government by not allowing such talented players to display their skills. IPL is certainly a lot poorer without the effervescent presence of India's traditional rivals. The first edition was a hit because Pak players were allowed. The second was a damp squib as IPL was not played at home in India and again due to the abscence of Pak players. I think IPL will surely die a premature death if it continues with its naive exclusiveness.

  • Zain-ul-Abideen on January 22, 2010, 11:49 GMT

    Any world XI in T20 on any given day, at least 3-4 Pakistani players would be in that team. Pakistan is without a doubt the best T20 team at the moment. I agree with mazcaan, we should boycott IPL and should not take it seriously

  • aliabidmba on January 22, 2010, 11:45 GMT

    Dear Harsha! where was this violance when PCB suppoerted BCCI in most of the cases until the IPL got bigger. remember that ICL helped IPL to grow an idea & PCB supported Full to BCCI by banning most of Pakistanis who joined ICL. once IPL is got bigger now they r thinking themself KING. well money changed alot. i dont have anything to say to anybody except to PCB idiots that plan the game. dont see towards india again. they have long histroy of betraying since 10th century. PPL is good idea to promote the game. money is shower on PPL too if they plan it like a business plan. n those teams who dont want to visit pakistan, their individuals will visit by scrapping the security warnings. lets Just do it. fell IPL issue as an oppertunity.

  • Glocks on January 22, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    Pretty incredible stuff - the level of animosity between these two nations is greater than many of us in the west could ever hope to understand. For the Indian govt to simply say 'Its nothing to do with us' is particularly disappointing, and if this is how they are going to deal with sensitive issues in the future, then my misgivings regarding India's growing influence over the game would appear to be vindicated.

  • gideesh on January 22, 2010, 11:37 GMT

    Its sad that we have to face this day . I have been shocked by the omission of Afridi ,Asif & M.Amir from the IPL . With the available slots anyone of them would have fit into the scheme of things . I feel the IPL bosses didn't want to take any risk with the possiblity of withdrawal of the present stance between the Govt / Board .

    Harsha lets hope the love & pashion of cricket bind both the nation & its people from the external influence of terror .

  • hmalik on January 22, 2010, 11:34 GMT

    If I owned an IPL team (wishful thinking) and I was faced with the task of choosing my first international player out of the lot, it would be Shahid Afridi. And I'm sure everybody on this forum would agree with me here. Ok, he may not be on top of everybody's list, but if we were to compile everybody's top 3 lists, this guy would definitely have the highest frequency. The way he, along with other member of the T20 champions squad, was ignored through the auction just doesn't smell right to me. Not just that, but the way all Pakistani players were ignored across the board seems very well coordinated and pre-planned to say the least. Not even a single bid Mr. Bhogle! I like your commentary of the live games, but I'm not too sure if this game is as straight as you are trying to make it sound.

  • FitzroyMarsupial on January 22, 2010, 11:34 GMT

    Pretty bad editorial decision by Cricinfo for allowing this piece through. Bhogle is involved with IPL and Cricinfo have allowed what is effectively a PR piece to masquerade as a legitimate journalistic opinion (a shame after Ramiz Raja's well written piece yesterday). At the very least his involvement with Deccan should be acknowledged in the piece itself. In the team of the decade citation overview it was noted that no NZ or WI cricketer was picked, but the fact that no Pakistani was picked was not. I've come to expect better from Cricinfo.

    Someone, somewhere has 'nobbled' the auction so as to make a clear statement that India is cricket king and to give Pakistan a sly kick at the same time. I can understand the motivation, but it's a petty and short-sighted move. I'm an Indian, and patriotic as anybody but if India really want to lead - it's time for a bit of statesmanship and dignity to be added to the Bollywood bucks.

  • kalyanbk on January 22, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    I think we are all taking the IPL way too seriously. Let us say that India are No.1 in Test Cricket and not a single Indian from that test team is hired for English county Cricket. Will Indians go to the streets and burn flags? We would instead be happy if India still maintained its No.1 status.

    There have also been occasions when during the selection of the national team in every country, some state's cricketers get left out while another state gets disproportionate representation. But then that state chief minister does not call up the sports minister claiming Bias.

    So if it does not even happen at the national and international level why react to the IPL which is a private business venture where businessmen do whatever they want with their money?

  • qaysy on January 22, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    ok fine. pakistani players are security risk and might not be available on time but dont you think all this should have been sorted out long before even at the time of accepting applications from them or even right before the auction. it is purely a drama to show power.

  • unant on January 22, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    I agree with you Harsha. It was a complex decision that the franchisees had to take. The IPL organizing committee did well by leaving it up to the franchisees to take the risk of selecting Pakistani players. And the teams have done well by acknowledging the security threat, uncertainty on availability and the general public sentiment (which is anti-Pakistan these days). Its a definite loss to all cricket lovers but we all should rise above the passion for the game and think about the national interest. There were indeed times when sports was not mixed with politics. But I guess the time has come to better to call a spade a spade. Deterioration of ties with Pakistan due to imminent threats from across the border and inaction on the part of establishments there can not be ignored for the sake of providing valuable entertainment to cricket enthusiasts. The franchisees may not be happy but they took a hard and an intelligent decision nonetheless.

  • Shahzad_Tirmizi on January 22, 2010, 11:32 GMT

    Well I think thats not the end for Pakistani players. They just need to win the next T20 once again & tell the Indians no matter they include our players in IPL or not, no matter they let us play in CHAMPIONS LEAGUE or not, we are the World Champions in this format. Indians can't stop us from becoming World Champions they can just cry over it.

  • Goju on January 22, 2010, 11:29 GMT

    Frankly, some of the arguments in the comments sections are ridiculous. I personally really enjoy watching Pak play T20. Its where for 4 hours, all their pettiness is put aside, and they pull through as one team and they are awesome. One team!

    But for the fans to be angry against the IPL is ludicrous. I can understand the Pak players being frustrated as they have missed on contracts.

    The IPL is the MOST overrated CRICKET tournament in the world. I am Indian - and I watch it actively. But its entertainment - not cricket (untill the last 2 matches perhaps). Commentators degrade themselves for commercial needs, most non-retired foreign players could not care and the TEAMs (not players) are average (point to the Champions League).

    With the exception of Tanvir (glorifed legspinner who has been sorted out) - the Pak players would have added to the spectacle. Especially the contreversial Afridi. But guess what, Pak players get a good rest and can prove everyoen wrong in the T20 WC.

  • Quazar on January 22, 2010, 11:26 GMT

    I'm sorry Harsha, but you are letting the IPL and its franchise owners off too lightly. I have 2 points: 1) As one reader beautifully put it: "You can either be a product of the times you live in or shape the time you live in." The IPL stakeholders are all highly educated, wealthy and mature Indians...if we can't expect them to act in an enlightened manner, who will lead India in becoming a model nation, a more progressive society??? 2) As a friend of mine said: "Even if cricket may not be able to build new bridges of peace, why should it be used to burn down existing bridges?" The highly insensitive manner in which the Pakistan players were avoided has even endangered other sporting and cultural ties between our countries. As Ramiz Raja and Gaurav Kalra have been saying, the IPL should have been upfront weeks ago about their concerns (various risks), and informed the Pakistan players and fans that unfortunately they could not be invited for IPL3. What was so hard about that???

  • elkoti on January 22, 2010, 11:17 GMT

    I will give you a example,assume ABC a company they call interview a bunch of people even a just pass students to rank students are attend the interview, the company has rights to take a decision to appoint just pass student or rank students. There is nothing wrong in not selecting pakistan players.

  • raisalman on January 22, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    u have got it all wrong mr Harsha.Even a blind person can see what happened in reality. I read someone asking for a befitting reply..yea i agree with it and this reply should be a complete ban on the coverage of IPL in Pakistan.Atleast this is what we can do at this stage.I am afraid to say that there is already a talk going on on boycotting the coverage of every match in which any Indian player is playing.If i had the opportunity i would have done every thing in my capacity to ban indian media in Pak.When lalit modi is going to lose a few bucks only then he is going to realize to respect one's integrity. For my Pakistani brothers and sisters ...plz lets join hands and make this effort of boycotting the broadcast of every indian game in Pakistan successful. This is what we can do and we will succeed in bringing down ipl. Use every forum such as cricinfo, facebook etc to make this happen

    Pakistan Zindabad

  • Tramadol on January 22, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    I used to open the ESPNSTAR Sports site just to read your thoughts, now that you have started writing here, I stopped opening that site. The Pakistani players being left out of the IPL III in a manner that was just disgraceful, it could have been done in a much better way. There is no cricketing logic behind not taking them, just simple political issues, which is unfortunate. U r right in saying that we have become pawns in the hand of the terrorists. All the people who are arguing against Harsha's views, please read the article once more carefully, i request, thanks, cheers harsha

  • MuthukrV on January 22, 2010, 10:57 GMT

    The private fortunes of 8 players in a private enterprise gets equated with national pride. This can only happen with cricket in the sub-continent. Team owners are hardnosed business persons who expect returns on investment. Will anyone in Pakistan bet 250000USD of their own money on a player if it was not certain that he would play.Politicians need distractions to divert attention from their own failures and this has come in handy.It would be better if Mr.Ijaz Butt focusses on payments outstanding to his own players,from his own organisation. Theoretically it should be a much bigger national shame if the cricket board is not playing its players.

  • satanlives on January 22, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    I completely agree with Harsha when he tries to drive home the point that it is NOT a conspiracy against Pakistani players when IPL franchises chose not to place any bids on them. Its more of a business decision inspired by various future risks associated with it. Moreover people who say that in Pakistani players should have been invited for auction are looking at it in a wrong way. IPL auction works in a different way, if a player wants to play in IPL he sends a request to IPL to include in auction along with all the necessary documents like NOC from their home board. Pakistani players did the same, like everyone else. IPL administration's job is just to give them a chance of auction which they did, IPL can not control which players the franchises buy(or pass over). Back to the franchises, anyone which a business sense would have done the same. You cant put your money on an option which could result in a no show or violence or any other problems.

  • itsprogressive on January 22, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    Dear Harsha Bhogle......surprisingly in this article of yours; in which you were trying to convince Pakistanis or may be Indians that there is no cheat in IPL, you have used the word Pakistan only twice and that too also in your last two paragraphs. May be during writing this you forgot the subject of the article. Nevertheless calling all this a conspiracy; is just looking at tip of an iceberg. It was all pre-planned and now very apparent to all that how discriminatory it may get. It is just a matter of an oppertunity and Pak should expect this to happen again in future. Anyways at least this article lost it way to what it really was expressng. Not a good attempt even and Harsha was the last man I was expecting to do that. I would suggest; no need to justify or explain what wrong has ben done as it will remain wrong forever. World Champs will have no effect if they are not in IPL.

  • SachisTHEstory on January 22, 2010, 10:28 GMT

    I think the IPL should come out in the open and admit that this fiasco was because of mismanagement. It will also help them clear the remarks (which honestly, I think are quite baseless - much Sunil Gavaskar's comments on Stuart Broad) that this is a conspiracy.

    As the powerhouse of international cricket, I think India (the glitterati and the corporates included) should take the lead in promoting what is best for the game. I seriously doubt that it will make a significant difference to the money they rake in, but it will make a difference to the way IPL is viewed - currently as a cricketing gimick for haute bourgeoisie! It will not only add respectability to the shorter version of the game, but also go a long way in ensuring that this burst of success is sustainable.

  • Go_F.Alonso on January 22, 2010, 10:23 GMT

    Wait a minute - Is Eoin Morgan the only Irish/Englishman picked in IPL 3? And what about NZ - only Bond and SL - just Perera? Why the heck are these teams not creating a ruckus? It's just unfortunate - now get on with it. Besides, there were very limited slots and none of the picks were any less talented than any of the Pakis. Pollard, Roach, Barath, Parnell, Abdulla, Kemp, Martyn, Voges, Bond, Perera and my personal favorite Morgan. Give me a wicket keeper and what a team this would be. Those of you criticizing the "security issue" reason, just go back in time, read all the gory stories about innocent people killed and families destroyed forever when bombs went off in several Indian cities and STFU. A dear friend of mine was injured (he's ok now) and at that time I didn't want any Pakis on our soil and the feeling remains. If you were unaffected by any of this, you have no right to criticize the "security concerns"

  • Golandaaz on January 22, 2010, 10:22 GMT

    Harsha, that no one planned for the eventuality; and it is quite apparent that they did not; that no Pakistani player might get selected, does not speak well about either our government, the IPL and the franchises. They did not correctly assess the impact of " times we live in" aspect of this. And that makes it difficult for me to not speculate a conspiracy theory. I smell something ugly here. The "its a commercial decision" argument is too naive.

  • Shaitaan on January 22, 2010, 9:53 GMT

    Harsha, I'd agree that there was no 'conspiracy' to ridicule anyone. The hysteria about 'befitting replies' from across the border is amusing, if aimed primarily at assuaging a domestic audience. However, as an Indian the question for me is not whether the government influenced it or not; the fact is that given the inherent sensitivity of the exercise - Indian corporates bidding for Pakistani players - it was tactlessly managed. If popular opinion in India doesn't want Pakistani players benefitting financially from an Indian league until, for instance, concrete action is taken against the plotters of Mumbai 26/11, okay, fair enough - perhaps. But you could simply say, straight up, "Afridi bhai, sorry, abhi halaat theek nahi hai, next time perhaps?" People may have still felt angry, but not humiliated. This is not how an Indian entity, even a private one, should behave with sporting/cultural ambassadors. If 'shining India' is an insensitive jerk, its lustre has already dulled for me.

  • Codenames on January 22, 2010, 9:45 GMT

    "The franchises have a right to select the team they want, even if it is not the best possible, because they have to wear many hats."

    The BCCI can continue killing cricket. I look foward to the next Champions League tournament, where IPL teams will once again feature nowhere in the tournament. Even with home advantage and all their moneys worth. The level of cricket in the IPL is LOW, the only thing that keeps me following the games is fantasy cricket. Players are not 100% in the game as they have no belonging to a team and dont feel the emotion of representing ones country or playing for a club where they have built friendships over years. Bottom line, the IPL is a circus and all these guys paid to say "DLF Maximum" are a bunch of dancing clowns.

  • mianhaseeb on January 22, 2010, 9:44 GMT

    hmm watevr u written might try and defend IPL's cause but one thing for sure that the indians says we take cricket as a religion but i guess they are up to prove that they only worship indian cricket not cricket not investing in pakistani players due to uncertainty is useless point if IPL is business then a wise businessman always take risk beyond his power sometimes caz he knows if they pay off its a big achivement so wateva u say to defend it wont bridgeup the gaps anymore i would love to hear from Pakistani players that no IPL from now onward to hell the money we want respect

  • gnat9 on January 22, 2010, 9:41 GMT

    It is indeed very sad that the Pakistani cricketeers have all been dropped by the IPL, but they have only their government to blame. The Indian people are pretty much fed up with how the elements in Pakistan engineer terror attacks in India, and how the government there chooses to live in denial. It is all too easy to say that politics and sports must be separated but one has to remember that cricketeers, at the end of the day, represent the country they play for. India has a problem with Pakistan, not with the Pakistani people, and it is exactly this message that is being sent out by the IPL.

  • adilk on January 22, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    Harsha you are from Indian origin and I don't blame you if you still favour IPL and Lalit Modis gang. Pakistans are 20 champs and as long as i remember....Pakistani bowler(Tanvir) was most wicket taker when Pakistani players played IPL last time. I don't mind snubbing and politics but its hurts when i heared.. IPL requested and PCB granted permission for 11 players and they were all there in India for auction when they heared they got no value. To be honest, India wants to be super power but they never will because they got rat size brain. See how are punishing cricket fans around the world for their own agencies security failure. Anyhow, Good luck to IPL and India in near future...to be honest I hate all from now on.

  • Itchy on January 22, 2010, 9:32 GMT

    Harsha, we all know that you have sold your soul to the IPL (anyone listening to your commentary of such would be well aware) but justifying the decision making of the owners as 'a sign of the times' or that visas may not have been forthcoming when they had been promised by the Pak government is pure rubbish. Afridi or Umar Gul should have at least been picked up if there was a level playing field and not the slightest whiff of racism around. As an Australian, I found it difficult to believe that Damien Martyn could be picked at all considering he has not played any top level cricket (bar ICL) for three years and that current Pak players were snubbed - makes no sense either financially OR politically.

  • tinkuji on January 22, 2010, 9:31 GMT

    I feel strongly for the Pakistani players. I think they have been given a raw deal. They definitely deserved better than the shoddy treatment meted out to them. They definitely have the talent to be in an international league like the IPL. But this feeling is purely personal with respect to the individual players. Regarding the ground reality, which actually prompted IPL2 to be bereft of Pakistani players,it hasn't changed much. about 200 people died due to the actions of a few people where there are lots of sympathisers for them. On a different article, Mr Samiuddin writes that Indian government "blamed" elements, based in Pakistan. If the sporting fraternity of Pakistan doesn't own up to the realities and it makes me wonder whether the whole country does. So although I feel sorry for the cricketers, I agree with Harsha that we live in tough times. And don't worry, the league will survive.

  • sirajqadri on January 22, 2010, 9:28 GMT

    what no conspiracy atleast from you we didnt expect this comment it is sad ridiculous shame on part of ipl and modi he is biased man why they shortlisted pak player when their position is not clear whether they are available or not all blame on mr lalit modi who is ignoring pak player on what ground he is neglecting pak players difficult to understand a cricket lover want to see good cricketer from all over the world it is not the franchise to decide it is public cricket lover everybody want to see pak players they are champions without them ipl is nothing pollard is greater than afridi cricket lover will laugh how stupid decision of lalit modi he is one man show franchises following him blindly no sense and now ipl loosing charm it is a political body one man show it does not show cricket spirit and they are not taking care of cricket lovers who love to see at least few player of world champions lalit modi distorting the relationship of indo pakcricket ties he is responsible for all

  • criciketlover on January 22, 2010, 9:19 GMT

    Very poor logic leading to a faulty conclusion about the IPL auction charade. Expected something better from a senior commentator like Harsha and I wonder if he is fronting certain vested interests in the IPL. Why in the first place would you include the Pakistan players in the auction when all the IPL franchises had reservations on bidding or acquriing them in the first place ? Beats me for sure ! A silly article besides redundant observations about the intertwining of politics and sport. Give us something new Harsha. You can do better !

  • AsISeeIt on January 22, 2010, 9:05 GMT

    Not the best article, Harsha. I have read better from you. This whole IPL auction drama reflects very poor foresight on part of the IPL organising committee and the franchisee owners. Why were the pakistani players included in the auction list at the first place if every franchisee had apprehensions about their "availability" or "alienating fans" or "security"? This whole thing could have been handled in a much more gracefully.

  • sreeb on January 22, 2010, 9:05 GMT

    Harsha you are the best!!! for that matter as you some very fine Aus players like Brad Haddin, Mich, Phil Huges etc were not picked was it a conspiracy too..? despite such a political scene on Indian Students in Aus

  • amit1807kuwait on January 22, 2010, 9:00 GMT

    1. IPL is a domestic Indian tournament. True, it invites foreign players to participate, but at the same time it reserves the right to choose those foreign players. A lot of emotional fuss is being created unnecessarily on the exclusion of Pakistani cricketers.

    2. IPL is also a private venture where businessmen hold great stakes. Whom they choose to play in their teams is again their sole prerogative. Why create an emotional hullaballoo if those businessmen deem that they do not want certain players in their teams despite the pedigree of those players??

  • uahmed on January 22, 2010, 8:43 GMT

    You may be partially correct, but for the most part you are wrong. There is, in fact, a conspiracy going on, but its not just against Pakistan cricket. It is against Pakistan as a whole. The Indian government has, for a long time, been doing its best to do all they can in order to weaken Pakistan. But the Pakistani government has been doing the same thing as well. The Indians are just coming out on top. It's a shame that politics of this sort have begun to affect cricket, but it is a reality we all have to face.

  • studmantra on January 22, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    >> With an online library you can edit footage, store it in the manner you want and show

    Before we get all excited, keep in mind the copyright issues that come in the way. I'm willing to bet that the clips of Manish Pandey's catch on YouTube are technically illegal. Aren't we all familiar with that obnoxious "clip removed due to terms of use violation" message.

    I think Harsha is spot on on how the internet is the great leveller - and reduces our dependence on the staid, politically correct and ad-infested dominance of traditional media.

    It is a fundamental right to be able to take digital content, enhance and re-combine in any way we see fit - and disseminate distilled entertainment for the enjoyment of others. That is the nature of human culture today in the digital age and a stepping stone to the future, just like cave-paintings and the printing-press enabled our culture in the past.

    We can change things, visit the eff.org (Electronic Frontier Foundation) for more information.

  • avis_2010 on January 22, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    Have been hearing all the crazy comments about non-inclusion of the Pak Players. Let me state few facts from my side as well. 1) There were 55 players who were not selected. More than 10 players from Australia were not selected, so its just not pakistan players who have lost out. 2) Does it mean that if you have to select 11 players you need to invite them only, in that case based on such hue n cry all the 11 players should have been from pakistan only otherwise even if one would have been left same question would have been asked. 3) Let Franchise owners decide whom they want to play and whom not, few of them had Pakistan players in IPL 2 but what happened, none of them played. Lets say as a owner I have 6 Pakistan players in my team and because of any issue (polictical, security etc) Pakistan players dont join the team then the team will be left with almost nothing to fill up foreign players squad while they have already paid huge sum for so called star Pak players.

  • saishenoy on January 22, 2010, 8:11 GMT

    Good article Harsha. Now let's take a look at the progression of events. Step 1: Franchises express interest in players. These players are put in a preliminary list of players from which the auction list is created. Step 2: To be included on the auction list, players need visas and clearances. A deadline is issued by the IPL, the governing body. Step 3: Pakistan's players get their clearances last. IPL allows them in the auction nevertheless.

    Now why would someone express interest in Pak players if they did not want them. If someone has played any strategic game, its plain knowledge that if I want to pick someone, the best strategy is to flood the pool with choices, so as to confuse your opponents into picking other than what you want. That's the strategy. This is the same reason why we noone picked Sarwan and Haddin. Are they making a fuss about it, No. Aren't they liable to feel bad. 11/66 were chosen. If 55 were chosen and the 11 left were pakis that wud be discrimination. Not this

  • mazcaan on January 22, 2010, 8:04 GMT

    Conspiracy theory or no conspiracy theory, you are organizing a T20 tourny and have ignored the top T20 players in the world who also happen to be current world champions. Whose loss is it? I would request our players not to participate in IPL again and to the tens of millions of Pakistani fans stop taking IPL seriously and support your team.

  • spiritwithin on January 22, 2010, 8:01 GMT

    y there is so much hue and cry over da exclusion of pak players??there r only 14 vacancies for 67 players so anyhow 53 players had to go back dissapointed and even players like sarwan,haddin,swann hah also missed out but it does'nt mean they were insulted...in IPL1 ricky ponting fetched far less than his own domestic level players so da decision is solely francise's bcoz they r paying da money...in IPL1 only one pakistani was successful(tanvir) whereas others were flop so just like performance of players r uncertain francise's decision too wud b uncertain bcoz its business...pollard fetched da maximum but it does'nt mean he's da best in da business..so definitely dont club francise's decision with politics..

  • ShahidAfridiFan on January 22, 2010, 7:52 GMT

    if all this wasnt a conspiracy against pakistani okayers then why would rajasthan royals leave out tanvir for $200k base price when he was the leading wicket taker by a fair margin in the inaugral ipl, he practically won it for them. they knew how great he is for the team but didnt keep him for political reasons.

  • KhuMir on January 22, 2010, 7:47 GMT

    Its' also good to see that not all Indians are taking this lightly. This tense situation is because of the politics not people. I guarantee if any one of the Indians that wrote proper comments of this owned teams, Pakistani's would be playing.

  • KJButt on January 22, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    I think the whole issue is botched up by the IPL. Politics has over taken the cricket.

  • Quazar on January 22, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    I'm sorry Harsha, but you are letting the IPL and its franchise owners off too lightly. I have 2 points: 1) As one reader beautifully put it: "You can either be a product of the times you live in or shape the time you live in." The IPL stakeholders are all highly educated, wealthy and mature Indians...if we can't expect them to act in an enlightened manner, who will lead India in becoming a model nation, a more progressive society??? 2) As a friend of mine said: "Even if cricket may not be able to build new bridges of peace, why should it be used to burn down existing bridges?" The highly insensitive manner in which the Pakistan players were avoided has even endangered other sporting and cultural ties between our countries. As Ramiz Raja and Gaurav Kalra have been saying, the IPL should have been upfront weeks ago about their concerns (various risks), and informed the Pakistan players and fans that unfortunately they could not be invited for IPL3. What was so hard about that???

  • siliconvalley_cricketgeek on January 22, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    article and the heading dont go together.

  • Farhan020328 on January 22, 2010, 7:39 GMT

    i think there was some common agreement between BCCI and franchises tha nobody will bid for them. So everybody is well treated and win-win situation for both.

  • Avid.Cricket.Watcher on January 22, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    Harsha, I have great respect for you...and that makes me all the more disappointed that you too are setting the bar low for IPL owners & organizers. Is societal progress possible with a "times we live in" attitude? As achievers in life (IPL owners as well as you), isn't challenging the status quo an intrinsic and highly necessary quality? I'm sorry, but if you think that this tricky situation could not have been handled with significantly more graciousness, sensitivity and honesty...then I am truly disappointed.

  • CricFan78 on January 22, 2010, 7:36 GMT

    I find it funny that people are actually saying IPL sent invitations to Pak players. The process is every player including Pak players apply for auction. There were 44 players which were rejected by IPL but only Pak players have moaned about rejection which really talk about victim mentality

  • Gupta.Ankur on January 22, 2010, 7:36 GMT

    Pakistan must act as a proud nation and not bicker about non-participation in IPL.IPL is a private league and not an Olympic association which decides your participation in the world's premier event.

    Ir-responsible statements by people in pakistan's political establishment will only make matters worse.

  • Deb_Rockstars on January 22, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    IPL is big time business...and no business runs on uncertainty...so it simply was a prudent decision from business standpoint to not invest in players whose availability is dependent on fragile relations between the two countries and a bunch of whimsical politicians on both sides. Its unfortunate...and certainly the Indian cricketing community and public means no disrespect to their Pakistani counterparts. Make no mistake...we are saddened by the turn of events...but it just needs to be seen in its logical and not emotional context.

  • Umrao_John on January 22, 2010, 7:03 GMT

    Great article by Harsha especially about comentrators on Radio, anybody recalls Devraj Puri comentrator on AIR saying I think he is not out and there were roits in Broburne stadium (Bombay then)? IPL is private enterprise of some risk taking individuals who put their money in providing entertainment and sports events.

    Anyways the Pakistanis are immensely talented, they should take a positive look at the events (of the Snub) and start PPL Pakistani Premeir League (of their own). They always comptete with India in Science ,technology and are leaders in social progress. They are indeed on par with India and leaders in some unique areas.

  • Desiguy007 on January 22, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    Harsha. Seems to me that you discussed the sub heading of your title regarding google more than the main title. You wrote all that just to conclude the article with a "It's not a conspiracy against Pakistani players, its the times we live in". With all due respect Sir, "It's these times we live in that we must rise up for the greater good." And that certainly did not happen here. I understand that IPL is a private event and they can invite whoever they want. But why send out invitation cards when you do not want us in your home? These franchises passed on proven T2O warriors to recruit green horn players. At least Afridi should have made the cut. You don't want Pakistani players? Then don't invite them. Don't cop out and hide behind lame excuses such as "We were not sure of their availability". In cricketing terms - "The inclusion of Pakistani players was a great in-swinging yorker to IPL. IPL played down the wrong line and was out plumb pbs (politics before sports) for a duck."

  • Sach.S on January 22, 2010, 6:37 GMT

    Sorry but this is all bollocks, Harsha.

    I get that this is more business over cricket. Yet, if they were so uncertain about those players then they should not have been in the auction in the first place. But those franchises wanted those players and that's why they were in the auction - that's why they were cleared by the Pakistan government. Plus the whole IPL season was clear for them so it could hardly be a case of unavailability.

    I would have Afridi over Pollard or Gul over Bond any day in my T20 team. Those two guys are two of the best in the world in this format.

  • DeadPinkOwl on January 22, 2010, 6:36 GMT

    Cut the crap Harsha~! No point hiding behind the "Times we live in" curtain. I second those comments that say you've totally ignored the events leading up to this event. It all smacks of a conspiracy, and a poorly worked out at that. If its only about starategy and picking people everyone is comfortable with then IPL has been exposed as heartless money making machine. Thats never good publicity for any business~! Its all good playing with words, but once in a while one should also have the courage speak the obvious truth!

  • fawad.Ala on January 22, 2010, 6:33 GMT

    i am worried about the future of cricket between pak ind. cricket has been a reason to join both countries in tense situation from 1947 to 2004. unfortunatily this time cricket has been used to spoil relationship between pak ind which is already weak. this is not enough justification as harsha said ' reaction of the time we live in'. reaction depend on the people. if we think positive we do positive. i dont have any problem if IPL dint allow pak players to play this is indian business and they have fully right to choose their customers. the question is why IPL and modi asked pak gov to free their player to play in IPL and put players names in auction and after it had done franchise did not consider our players? this is great humiliation of pakistani plaerys, even indian crouds felt it.

  • vikram__r on January 22, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    Disappointing analysis from a senior cricket commentator. As usual you choose to skirt the main issue of why the Pakistan players were included in the auction in the first place. Did the franchises suddenly realize the night before the auction - "Blimey! This could be a problem!" - beggars belief.

    This is a trend I am noticing in a lot our Indian writers who are/were also involved with the IPL in some capacity -the inability to call a spade a spade. There is another term for these people that comes in mind (from my college days) - rhymes with Hussey!

  • badal on January 22, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    Come on Harsha, who R U kidding. Just accept the fact that, who ever responsible for all this, screwed up big time. To deny millions of fans not just in India but accross the globe from watching some of the best T20 players will come back and bite IPL in their behind. No doubt, India is world cricket "Super Power", but just be carefull, as few more mistakes like that can back fire very quickly. On this one, you have to face the reality.

  • CrisSayHi on January 22, 2010, 5:41 GMT

    Partially agree with this article. Agree that there is no conspiracy. Agree that IPL as a private organization has choice to pick who ever they want. But disagree that they are doing it in most transparent way. If form or talent is any indication of their criteria, then of course Afridi deserves a place more than anyone. If security, emotion and other issue beyond their control are any factor, then they also have right to choose what is best of their interest. But why not mention those privately to PCB or at least in public forum now after all these mesh. Silence or hiding the reason is supporting every accusation that Pak is throwing at them. What to expect from Pak when they can bring conspiracy theory from any thing in day to day life? It is not what Pak is thinking or reacting, it is what IPL stands for so that it improves its and BBCI image that may not be as bright as it could have been. They are not setting a good example here.

  • ashtung on January 22, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    I believe you are a tad too excited about the google deal...Soon enough, copyrights will come in to picture... For instance, search for any good catch taken by an Aussie in the past year.. Chances are, you won't find it because CA has taken them down...

  • bhargava74 on January 22, 2010, 5:37 GMT

    Well - I'm an Indian and I dont like the way the whole episode was handled, least of all by Modi. Pakistan's players showed very clearly that were eager and committed to play in the IPL. PCB and everyone else involved in Pakistani red tape showed that they wanted their players to play. Then why this doubt about their availability? Also I find it a little hard to beliieve that all the franchises chose not pick any Pakistani player at the same auction as if they all discussed it before hand!.

  • Uziq85 on January 22, 2010, 5:36 GMT

    Harsha after reading this article of urs i really want to feel all gud abt it now...but to be very honest the true picture is not tht naive..its not only abt the franchses ignoring the Pakistani player beacause of the security purposes ,its abt the way they were snubbed..its like i call u or invite u to my home and once u arrive i dont even look at u or entertain u with the attention u deserve or need..let me tell u that like IPL 2 when there was no participation from any Pakistan player then , it was already decided that due to the security circumstances the players wont be taking part..but now u give them all the visas and stuff..PCB coordinating with Lalit Modi n part for NOCs..Lalit Modi giving deadlines ..wat was all tht then? they could have there and then very clearly stated like b4 tht this this is the issue so its better u dont even participate in the first place..But they call them...invite them..players are there in the auction and u show them the cold shoulder..wow

  • KiwiRocker- on January 22, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    Mate! Even a blind man can read the script. If franchise were not willing to bid then why will they ask for players to be listed on auction list? Stop making petty excuses! ICL champion,World Champions Pakistan is not going to be participating. The way I see is that whole IPL affair is going to be done and dusted within short time. Second edition was already useless. What further saddens me that people like Modi and BCCI have become bigger than the game itself. The whole circus is structured to somehow push mediocre team India as some champions of world. Arrogance of Modi and BCCI is also rubbing on Sehwag who can learn a thing or two from Ponting before disrespecting fellow cricketers of fine talent. Pakistan is living in same times and they welcomed Indian team with open arms. Shame on these arrogant capitalists because of whom Indian fans are the losers. Surely Afridis and Ranas have enough$$ already

  • Paddle_Sweep on January 22, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    Fantastic article! You are absolutely correct. It just reflects our troubled times.Though I have sympathies with our Pak colleagues I can very well understand the position taken by the franchises.Hats off to you Harsha for writing a very sensible article.

  • WaqasNoor on January 22, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    With respect it is very easy to say that we live in the world of reality... do u remember the tour of Pakistan to India in 1999 when just 3days before the tour some extremist group of people destroyed the pitch but still Paki players went to India. Isn't it so unreal? And as Afridi said people form India also want to see them in action so who are those people who are so strong that they are playing with the feelings of millions? We believe in Pakistan that both the countries should Play Cricket For Peace. And don't 4get the tour of India to Pakistan in 2004 and Pakistan tour to India when players from both the countries received warmest reception ever. But the way IPL authorities treated our players not acceptable at all. Cables operators have announced that they are not going to telecast the IPL matches in Pakistan so as the people have decided that they will not see the IPL match. This is also a reality of this real world that people love their HEROS and don't see them humiliating.

  • AsimR on January 22, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    I love listening to and reading Harsha. It's a joy for me the way he puts things in perspectives and comments. But this time I'm afraid he's come up with a lame excuse, trying to give IPL, BCCI and the govt. a reason for not picking Paksitani players. These players were brought in by IPL coz franchises must've shown interest in them else there was no reason for all the effort in getting them in i.e. visas, approvals etc. I blieve franchises were also told at the last moment making sure that stage is absolutely set to humiliate these players. What Lilit Modi, BCCI and the govt have lost is the chance to maitaining and even strengthening at least one avenue that purely and purely relates to people of the two countries. No other countries have people who love and enjoy cricket like Paksitanis and Indians. This was simply a farce.

  • UFKt on January 22, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    The issue is not why they were not selected .... obviously there are a lot of factors that they must have considered and in there own right may have made the decision that suits the franchise best. I think whats bothering so many people is that why were the players names requested by the francises for auction and then dumped ????? I think more than a conspiracy its a case of bad handling by the franchises .. who were undecided and yet asked IPL to include Pak players for auction. however the approach has given another opportunity to the hate mongers to widen the rift between the 2 nations. In the end more responsibiity in decision making has to be taken when Pak and Ind are involved. The people outside Pak/Ind will never understand why such hulla hoo is created for them its just another free market business based decision.... but in the reflection of the past 60 odd year historybetween the 2 nations it was a very callous approach by IPL.

  • Percy_Fender on January 22, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    The Government of India have been shockingly insensitive to what could happen to Indo Pak relations in the aftermath of the IPL auction. They probably knew but did not appreciate the extent of emotional turbulence that the game of cricket can cause in this sub-continent. In Pakistan we all know that because of there being not many options for entertainment, people prefer to see cricket on TV or live. If per chance their own players are in action it makes for a far more wholesome spectator response.I understand viewers used to think that the Pakistan National team was playing when only the Lahore Badshahs were in action in the ICL. Such was the committment the people have for cricket and their own team and players. It is this that the Indian Government should understand and take immediate steps to take remedial action to undo the severe damage to relations between the two countries caused by the IPL auction fiasco. Modi should be advised to atone for the blunder with another auction.

  • Fab-V on January 22, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    I am afraid that I can not agree with Harsha's comments that this is just a reaction to the 'times we live in'. This could have been handled a lot better than it was. I mean come on you are talking about the best T-20 cricketers of the world mate and to humiliate them in this manner is totally wicked. Intentional or not is a separate thing this could have been decided at the time the PCB was pressing the Pak. govt. for the clearances. These franchises demanded the need to pu these guys on the auction that is why they got their clearances. Sorry but the events are being judged in isolation and for me its the IPL and the franchises actions that are indicative of a conspiracy and you cant blame the Pakistanis for feeling snubbed. And above all how is the IPL going to be rated as the best T-20 league if aint gonna have the World champions being in the mix of things. Totally unjustfied and the IPL better get its act straight.

  • patilsunil on January 22, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    Great analysis!! Harsha always comes up with something special. thanks for the article!

  • HundredPercentBarcelonista on January 22, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    You can either be a product of the times you live in or shape the time you live in. Decades ago the American Football League canceled a game in New Orleans after the African American players were treated badly by the locals. It would have been just as easy for them to say "Oh, we cannot alienate the fans who think African Americans are an inferior race". The IPL had the opportunity to show its fans that it believes in bringing people together through cricket. Unfortunately, the league and the owners decided to take it safe. It might please the fans who are high on pseudo-nationalism but it's also telling people it's okay to discriminate against people for no fault of theirs. Like you said, it is just another victory for those who infect us with hatred.

  • CricFan78 on January 22, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    Finally some sanity into the political barbs which have been flowing around.

  • krik_777 on January 22, 2010, 4:35 GMT

    The IPL owes an apology to the Pakistani cricketers. At the least they need some lessons in event management, decency and diplomacy. I do not blame the owners for not buying the Pakistani cricketers. It might have led to violent incidents especially in Mumbai and other places. But all this could have been foreseen and discussed. The Pakistani players could have been barred in an open and transparent way. This would have saved both sides the trouble. But it seems kind of idiotic for the Pakistan government to get involved in a private business. And what is this talk of "befitting reply"??? A befitting reply would be to hang those responsible for the Mumbai attacks and work for a prosperous and tolerant subcontinent. It is rather childish and immature to hint at more violence to give a "befitting reply". Hope sense prevails and we can resume normal relations cricket and otherwise between the 2 countries.

  • jondil on January 22, 2010, 4:25 GMT

    Good article, but what I find ironic is the line "he could rewrite your article, even chop it and make it look quite different from what it was intended to be. " This piece is primarily about the YouTube deal, but the editors of the website decided to promote it based on the two paragraphs written on the IPL/Pakistan story. Maybe you should switch to a blog, Harsha :) ...

  • truthspeaker on January 22, 2010, 4:22 GMT

    IPL is a private tournament and they have rights to select anyone - Many are called but only fw are chosen

    For the irate Pakistani cricketers here's a sample - In 1981-1983, when Kerry Packer fromed his rebel cricket, no one from the Indian team was selected - Pakistani players like Imran played - No Indian talked of conspiracy then - we reconciled that we were not suite dofr ODI type cricket

    But India proved its metlle the same year by wining the world cup and the world took notice - so, Pakistan has to draw positive in omission - they should raise their standard of game overall in Tests, ODI and T20 before playing world superstars India

  • Immad_Pak on January 22, 2010, 4:18 GMT

    true..agreed..its not the best time may be to be a sports enthusiast espescially in this region of the world..but what really hurt was the way the whole drama unfolded...IPL was well aware of the risks involved and sholudnt have auctioned the Pakistani players in the first place..but finally when they had been made available for selection this is not the way they should have been treated espescially on a world forum..there could have been better solutions to the whole problem..and i really wish some thought process had gone into sorting this mess out!

  • khalidnazim on January 22, 2010, 3:58 GMT

    Harsha, you are absolutely right that the franchise had the right to select the players that they wanted and to select Pakistani players was a risk. However, all them knew what they were going to do before the start of the bidding and I am sure Lalit Modi also knew that. They should have announced before the bidding in a joint statement that they cannot bid for Pakistani players for reasons outside of their control. Its humiliating to announce Shahid Afridi's name and there is no bid for him. That is a bad way of handling this situation. And this has played into the hands of the people who have hatred on both sides of the border. I was shocked to see what people have been saying on the internet. The handling of this situation was totally crass.

  • patilsunil on January 22, 2010, 3:57 GMT

    Great analysis!! Harsha always comes up with something special. thanks for the article!

  • gindrayan on January 22, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    Brilliant Harsha....Totally agree, I always love reading your articles.

  • VivaVizag on January 22, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    I am not sure if Pakistanis are actually snubbed for IPL-3, however, we in the US have definitely been. Why was US excluded from IPL-3 broadcast on YouTube?

  • GallantKnight on January 22, 2010, 3:23 GMT

    Indeed! It's unfortunate that the IPL will not be seeing the likes of Afridi, Mohd.Amer, et al, this season -- but to imply that there's a conspiracy does nothing. And where do these people in the sub-continent get time to watch cricket AND protest/burn effigies?

  • manasvi_lingam on January 22, 2010, 3:09 GMT

    Nevertheless, the whole fiasco could have been handled a LOT better. The Pakistani Government has certainly overreacted a bit, but this gesture was something close to a snub, if not actually that. The saddest part is that every upcoming match between the two, because of the misunderstandings, will now be treated a s a revenge-cum-war match. For instance, the upcoming U19 match promises to be high on emotions.

  • TwitterJitter on January 22, 2010, 3:07 GMT

    Agree with you Harsha on the youtube deal being the leveler. Infact, I and my colleague were just discussing it yesterday. You can even rent movies from Youtube and that means - in my opinion - Netflix and Blockbuster are in big trouble. In India, it means producers don't have to sell their physical DVDs. Just sell the digital rights to Youtube and piracy can be drastically reduced. Ofcourse, it also means someone can share the movie with a friend miles away if he gets the password which might be a drawback for producers. I don't see why any content (films, soap, news) etc not be produced and then broadcasted from Youtube. Infact, a producer from Uruguay uploaded a short sci-fi film onto youtube. The film was produced with a budget of $300 and within a week he had offers for producing a Hollywood movie project for 30 million dollars. A great leveler.

  • Zishan09 on January 22, 2010, 3:04 GMT

    From what I have read the only reason the 11 Pakistani players were put on the auction list, and so told to get NOCs etc, was because one or more franchise had expressed an interest in them. Same with all players. No problem there. But this was only maybe 3-4 weeks ago. Therefore the explanation of unavailability that the franchises have given is all well and good but surely this issue was also present 4 weeks ago when the request for Pakistani players to get their clearance was made? Its not like it has just cropped up in the last week or that Pakistan have just made a new tour. The same can be said even if security of players or teams is given as the reason. The issues were there before. Even the reason of "team strategy" is iffy. Are teams telling us that they had no thoughts on any strategy or on security or availability until they went into the auction?!?! This is why India must understand Pakistan's hurt, as it looks like an obvious public mocking of Pakistan by the IPL.

  • Sabeh83 on January 22, 2010, 2:58 GMT

    Harsha seems to miss the events leading up the auction. One must look at the reasons the Pakistani players, commentators, politicians, ex-cricketers and even for the most part Indian journalists feel aggrieved. Firstly, a big conundrum was made about the issuing of visas and ultimatums given by Lalit Modi which was finally resolved and guarantees provided to the players they would be allowed to participate.

    To be included in the auction a franchise must show 'interest' in a player which means if 11 Pakistani players were included in the auction then there would have been a lot of interest shown. For there not be a single bid for a player after all the events leading to auction there has to be call to action not pick Pakistani players from BCCI or the government. If both BCCI and government say they were not involved in a conspiracy then this has to be an exercise to humiliate the Pakistani players and nothing else.

  • Mina_Anand on January 22, 2010, 2:47 GMT

    You know, Harsha, while this may not be a 'conspiracy'..... and yes it is a reaction to the 'times we live in'...

    but surely, we could have 'handled this better'?

    Why call our neighbours to the auction and then humiliate them - why punish them for what their govt is doing..

    why behave in such a shabby manner..

    Yes, the franchises have every right to pick what they feel is the best 'buy' - but when they all knew that they were not going to pick the Pakistanis - why did they not discuss this with Modi and prevent the Pakistani cricketers from being 'put up' for the auction - and then 'put them down' so crudely ?

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  • Mina_Anand on January 22, 2010, 2:47 GMT

    You know, Harsha, while this may not be a 'conspiracy'..... and yes it is a reaction to the 'times we live in'...

    but surely, we could have 'handled this better'?

    Why call our neighbours to the auction and then humiliate them - why punish them for what their govt is doing..

    why behave in such a shabby manner..

    Yes, the franchises have every right to pick what they feel is the best 'buy' - but when they all knew that they were not going to pick the Pakistanis - why did they not discuss this with Modi and prevent the Pakistani cricketers from being 'put up' for the auction - and then 'put them down' so crudely ?

  • Sabeh83 on January 22, 2010, 2:58 GMT

    Harsha seems to miss the events leading up the auction. One must look at the reasons the Pakistani players, commentators, politicians, ex-cricketers and even for the most part Indian journalists feel aggrieved. Firstly, a big conundrum was made about the issuing of visas and ultimatums given by Lalit Modi which was finally resolved and guarantees provided to the players they would be allowed to participate.

    To be included in the auction a franchise must show 'interest' in a player which means if 11 Pakistani players were included in the auction then there would have been a lot of interest shown. For there not be a single bid for a player after all the events leading to auction there has to be call to action not pick Pakistani players from BCCI or the government. If both BCCI and government say they were not involved in a conspiracy then this has to be an exercise to humiliate the Pakistani players and nothing else.

  • Zishan09 on January 22, 2010, 3:04 GMT

    From what I have read the only reason the 11 Pakistani players were put on the auction list, and so told to get NOCs etc, was because one or more franchise had expressed an interest in them. Same with all players. No problem there. But this was only maybe 3-4 weeks ago. Therefore the explanation of unavailability that the franchises have given is all well and good but surely this issue was also present 4 weeks ago when the request for Pakistani players to get their clearance was made? Its not like it has just cropped up in the last week or that Pakistan have just made a new tour. The same can be said even if security of players or teams is given as the reason. The issues were there before. Even the reason of "team strategy" is iffy. Are teams telling us that they had no thoughts on any strategy or on security or availability until they went into the auction?!?! This is why India must understand Pakistan's hurt, as it looks like an obvious public mocking of Pakistan by the IPL.

  • TwitterJitter on January 22, 2010, 3:07 GMT

    Agree with you Harsha on the youtube deal being the leveler. Infact, I and my colleague were just discussing it yesterday. You can even rent movies from Youtube and that means - in my opinion - Netflix and Blockbuster are in big trouble. In India, it means producers don't have to sell their physical DVDs. Just sell the digital rights to Youtube and piracy can be drastically reduced. Ofcourse, it also means someone can share the movie with a friend miles away if he gets the password which might be a drawback for producers. I don't see why any content (films, soap, news) etc not be produced and then broadcasted from Youtube. Infact, a producer from Uruguay uploaded a short sci-fi film onto youtube. The film was produced with a budget of $300 and within a week he had offers for producing a Hollywood movie project for 30 million dollars. A great leveler.

  • manasvi_lingam on January 22, 2010, 3:09 GMT

    Nevertheless, the whole fiasco could have been handled a LOT better. The Pakistani Government has certainly overreacted a bit, but this gesture was something close to a snub, if not actually that. The saddest part is that every upcoming match between the two, because of the misunderstandings, will now be treated a s a revenge-cum-war match. For instance, the upcoming U19 match promises to be high on emotions.

  • GallantKnight on January 22, 2010, 3:23 GMT

    Indeed! It's unfortunate that the IPL will not be seeing the likes of Afridi, Mohd.Amer, et al, this season -- but to imply that there's a conspiracy does nothing. And where do these people in the sub-continent get time to watch cricket AND protest/burn effigies?

  • VivaVizag on January 22, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    I am not sure if Pakistanis are actually snubbed for IPL-3, however, we in the US have definitely been. Why was US excluded from IPL-3 broadcast on YouTube?

  • gindrayan on January 22, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    Brilliant Harsha....Totally agree, I always love reading your articles.

  • patilsunil on January 22, 2010, 3:57 GMT

    Great analysis!! Harsha always comes up with something special. thanks for the article!

  • khalidnazim on January 22, 2010, 3:58 GMT

    Harsha, you are absolutely right that the franchise had the right to select the players that they wanted and to select Pakistani players was a risk. However, all them knew what they were going to do before the start of the bidding and I am sure Lalit Modi also knew that. They should have announced before the bidding in a joint statement that they cannot bid for Pakistani players for reasons outside of their control. Its humiliating to announce Shahid Afridi's name and there is no bid for him. That is a bad way of handling this situation. And this has played into the hands of the people who have hatred on both sides of the border. I was shocked to see what people have been saying on the internet. The handling of this situation was totally crass.