Champions Twenty20 League May 26, 2009

Pakistan not consulted over Champions League exclusion


Pakistan's cricket authorities have said they weren't contacted at all with regard to their ouster from the pool of teams that form the lucrative Champions League, a further worrying indicator of their increasing isolation in world cricket.

The tournament - with $6 million in prize money - is scheduled to be held in India this October and though the number of teams participating has increased from eight to 12, Lalit Modi, the tournament's chairman, said no team from Pakistan would be among them. "Unfortunately, the Pakistan government won't give them [the players] clearance to come to India, and since Saturday was our cut-off date, it's not possible to have a team from Pakistan this year," Modi was quoted by AFP as saying on Sunday.

But a senior PCB official, reacting to Modi's comments, told Cricinfo the board had not been contacted at all by anyone regarding the tournament. "Sialkot had been invited for the first tournament but since that was postponed, we have heard nothing from them at all. We weren't told about any cut-off dates or deadlines. I am surprised Mr Modi is second-guessing what the Pakistan government is likely to be thinking in October," the official said. Incidentally, the PCB's domestic Twenty20 tournament is currently underway with a winner due to emerge on May 29.

Javed Miandad, PCB's director general, said it was "very disappointing" that no board had spoken out against Pakistan's exclusion. "When we used to play cricket all the boards had principles but now I see that money has made them turn a deaf ear to everything," Miandad told PPI. "India with the power of its money has earned the support from all stakeholders and we find no one who could listen and support us."

Pakistan had a representative - Sialkot Stallions - for last year's tournament that was postponed following the Mumbai attacks. Relations between India and Pakistan then deteriorated; India refused to tour in January and Pakistan's government stopped their players from travelling to India to take part in the IPL - the basis of the decision - though that situation is open to review and, possibly, to change given how quickly relations between the two countries fluctuate.

A BCCI official said the decision was a "precautionary" one. "We don't want a problem in the last minute... with so much money at stake, we don't want to take the risk of inviting a team when - as of now - it is clear that there will be political problems with visas, clearance," he said.

As well as the financial fallout - both team and home board are guaranteed a considerable sum - the move pushes Pakistan further to the margins of world cricket, given that domestic teams from all members (apart from Bangladesh and Zimbabwe) have also been invited to the tournament.

It is another sign possibly of how relations between the PCB and BCCI have cooled off considerably under the present Pakistan administration; though India's refusal to tour in January this year was a state-level decision, tensions have risen between the neighbours over the 2011 World Cup, with the BCCI believing the PCB was misguided in picking a legal fight with the ICC and the PCB believing India manipulated them out of hosting World Cup matches in Pakistan. In contrast, the previous PCB administration under Nasim Ashraf, had been accused, rather like Tony Blair to George Bush, of being India's puppet.

The PCB's own inaction has done nothing to ease the situation. The day after the decision was announced, a number of senior officials were contacted, none of whom had any coherent reply to the situation. One senior official didn't know what the Champions League was, while others referred the matter to the chairman, who simply referred it back.

A prickly relationship with the ICC will not help: the world's governing body isn't a stakeholder in the Champions League, but has sanctioned it and, according to Modi, set a window aside for it in the FTP. ICC members CA and CSA are founding members of the tournament and though they are among those who reiterate that they want to ensure Pakistan does not get isolated, this latest blow, in fact, achieves precisely the opposite.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • paritosh on May 28, 2009, 14:18 GMT

    This is a question to the Pakistani fans. Previously they claimed that the India and Sri Lanka are also unsafe for WC 2011, so it should be removed. Now they are very upset because they are not invited to play in the CL. What is your logic behind this anger ? Do u think expect us to believe that india is safe for CL and unsafe for WC 2011 ?. All this bickering and tit for tat attitiude, that the current PCB has, might make it more isolated in the cricket community. Pakistan in the past had some serious talent, but for it to flourish in the future it cannot pick up meaning less fights and antagonize others. The fans have to realize that unless india, sri lanka, bangaldesh tour pakistan no one else will. Ride out the storm (current problems in Swat valley) ,make your country better and secure(what happened to the terrorists who attacked the bus ?/ why not follow up ?) and people will come to play cricket. That's more important than hosting the WC otherwise cricket is doomed in pakistan.

  • Rauf on May 28, 2009, 13:12 GMT

    PCB is now playing into the hands of BCCI. It was OK to protest against the CWC decision and they had support from the fans but they are now just making a fool of themselves. Who cares about a 20/20 tournament sandwiched between IPL tamasha and 20/20 world cup. Best message Pakistan can send is to prepare and play hard in the upcoming 20/20 world cup and WIN IT. Then try to WIN the CWC in 2011 wherever the matches are played. Want to savour the reaction on Modi's face then win the CWC final held somewhere in India. This is how you get heard if no one is paying any attention to you. People attract towards winners and rich people. Last on the list are whiners. BCCI can keep it's money wherever it wants to as long as PCB is putting a check mark in the win column. Everyone will eventually come around as they would like to play the winners. Can someone from PCB please read this?

  • Faizan on May 28, 2009, 9:31 GMT

    Its the moral responsibilty of Mr.Lalit Modi to ensure that no team is unjustly excluded from any of HIS cricketing events. If Pakistan cant play a small tournament such as the Champion's League how is it possible to ensure that the BCCI will allow them to play the many WORLD CUP 2011 matches in India ? Will Pakistan be excluded from the World Cup 2011 too ? Will the ICC keep on acting as a puppet or will it start acting like the INTERNATIONAL CRICKET COUNCIL rather than INDIAN CRICKET COUNCIL. ICC has taken the decison to strip Pakistan from hosting the World Cup so early . Now it needs to think and take a decison quickly about these dirty tactics from the people who want to exclude Pakistan from cricket .

  • Syed Muhammad on May 28, 2009, 8:36 GMT

    I think the best way to record the protest is to be silent. Let's wait and see the cricketing world already knew how much talent Pakistan have and we have produced great cricketers. SO let's play cricket whatever available to us and prove with your performance. Keep one more thing in mind ICC run cricketing affairs of the world and they need good playing nations to promote cricket in other parts of the world and they also cannot afford to stay Pakistan out of touch. This all is the game of profits maximization they also have their vested interests in Pakistan Cricket. So we need nothing but to play good cricket and also play with ICC and enjoy. This is ICC's loose wing. Cool minded approach is needed no emotional approaches are required to deal with the situation.

  • vr on May 28, 2009, 5:34 GMT

    chochotain: Firstly, it is not "World" Championship League, it is "Champions League". Maybe Pakistan must host its own Champions league tournament. What are they afraid of? Maybe deep inside they know that the only team that will show up is from Afghanistan? PCB and its ardent followers need to grow up and grow up fast.

  • Chocho on May 28, 2009, 2:03 GMT

    As of now they are not sure if the tournament will be held in India or not because of security concerns and yet they assumed that Pakistani will not be allowed to travel to india hence will not be included in the tournament. "With that much money on stake, we do not want last minute surprise" except the tournament location, very funny. Same thing happened in IPL. Pakistani were not included due travel restrictions to India but the matches were played in SA. Nobody would have an issue if you call it Indian champions league or may be Modi league. but when you call it a world champion league and promote it like an international event then you have to behave neutrally. It seems Pakistan still has not learnt about this mentality that her founders had learnt more than 100 years ago.

  • Shahid on May 27, 2009, 17:54 GMT

    Wasn't IPL enough for T20. There were 59 matches played in over month's period and now they are going to have a champions league for the same format. What the hell is going on in the cricket world. These meaning-less competitions will surely ruin the game of cricket and BCCI will surely be the main sponsor of it. How much more money you want to give to these already filthy rich players. This is simply sheer greed. I care less if Pakistan's team plays in this senseless competition or not.

  • Bilal on May 27, 2009, 16:39 GMT

    I feel like this situation is never going to get better, I really think India will continue to have nationalistic anger towards Pakistan government for the Mumbai bombings, because their tourism has suffered and it gave them a bad name. On the Pakistan side, they will always play politics, because they have no other choice, if they admit that their country isn't safe, then nobody will EVER tour there, at least not until the unwinnable war in Afghanistan is over. I feel like Javed Miandad should just shutup, he is not a spokesperson for PCB . And I also feel like Pakistan should not act like victims because cricketers could have been killed there, and they have nobody to blame but themselves and their security, period.

  • saif on May 27, 2009, 16:33 GMT

    To continue with my earlier comments regarding Cricket or any other international sporting events, it doesn't matter what cricketing boards of respective country says, the REAL decision to play sports between country lies not with sporting bodies but with government in power at that time. I know its a pity to involve politics with sports, but no matter how much sports fans says about keeping politics out of sports, in reality, these two entites can NEVER be separated. In all, it's the people of sporting nation including sports players who suffer by these political decisions. Just imagine what all those athletes went through their 4 years of hard work in training only to find out their government has made th decision NOT to send their country's best athletes to the Olymics. All that training and their dreams of winning a medal for themselves and their nation goes down the drain. So whatever Mr. Lalit Modi says regarding Pakistan, the real power lies with Mr. Sharad Pawar and not him.

  • P on May 27, 2009, 16:33 GMT

    Mr Samiuddin needs to get over his soft corner for Pakistan cricket and explain to his undiscering Pakistani readers that this "isolation" is a result of their own morals and childish behaviour. They need to grow up and realize that no country is going to help and support them unconditionally, least of all the one who different characters from PCB and their govt trash talk everyday. Learn to EARN respect, self-pity and crying victimizatoin isn't going to cut it, and this jealousy of BCCI's money and clout is not going to help either. If they want to be a part of the Champions League and other BCCI initiatives, it's their prerogative to stop being so hostile and work towards a better relationship with the BCCI.

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