The PCB has hit out at the IPL's organisers after none of the Pakistan players were sold in the auction held in Mumbai on Tuesday. There were 11 players, including proven Twenty20 performers like Shahid Afridi and Umar Gul, up for grabs but the eight franchises stayed clear of any bids.

Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, said, "We are highly disappointed because we were hoping they (Pakistan's players) would play."

Having figured prominently in the inaugural edition, the Pakistan players were absent from the second season in in South Africa, after their government did not allow them to travel to India - where the tournament was originally to be held - for security reasons. Though the players got the go-ahead from their government and the board for the third season of the IPL, franchises were said to be wary over whether the strained relations with India would affect their ability to get visas.

However, the inclusion of Pakistani players in the IPL's final auction list, released on January 6, was on the basis of specific requests received from the franchises - every player on that list had to be officially sought by at least one franchise.

"The IPL had given us the mandate to get permission from our foreign office, to obtain other clearances and to finalise visas," Butt said. "We did all this, but it is a surprise that none of them have been taken at the auction.

"We have been trying to get in touch with the concerned authorities but with no avail. I have asked the sports minister to speak to his counterpart in India about this."

The snub has drawn criticism in Pakistan and Butt said he was aggrieved by the manner in which the players were treated. "I agree this is a private event, but to be excluded without giving any reason and without looking at the background is unfair. If they had told us we would have told the boys not to apply at all."

Butt's comments were a stark contrast to his relatively unfazed stance on Tuesday soon after the auction. "It really does not bother us; what difference does it make to us if our players don't play in the IPL this season? They didn't play in the last season as well," he had said.