Former Pakistan captain and prime minister of the country Imran Khan has called the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) “arrogant" for continuing to ignore Pakistani players in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) and advised the Pakistani players to not lose sleep about it.
“I find it strange that the Indian cricket board would take it out on the Pakistan cricket players (by not allowing them to feature in the IPL) and it just reeks of arrogance," Imran said while interacting with Times Radio. “If India doesn’t allow Pakistan players (to play IPL) so be it. Pakistan should not worry about it," he added.
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The 1992 World Cup-winning captain opined that the Indian cricket board’s “arrogance" stems from its ability to generate a lot of money.
“It is unfortunate, the relationship between Pakistan and India. There is a lot of arrogance in the way India now behaves in the cricketing world as a superpower. Because of their ability to generate a lot of funds, a lot more than any other country, I think they almost dictate now as a sort of the arrogance of a superpower of who they should play and who they shouldn’t," Imran said.
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While Pakistani players were very much a part of the IPL in its inaugural edition in 2008, Pakistan-linked terrorist attacks in Mumbai later that year led to the Pakistani players being banished from the IPL.
Also read - ‘When Teams Are Coming to Pakistan, Why is India Worried About Security?’
Later, Pakistan went on to institute its own domestic T20 league called the Pakistan Super League (PSL), while Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Najam Sethi claimed earlier this year, had more viewership than the IPL.
“Over 150 million people watched it (PSL) digitally. It is not a small thing. At the same stage, IPL’s digital rating was 130 million and PSL’s is more than 150 million. So this is a great success for Pakistan," Sethi said.
Political relations between the two countries remain strained and India have refused to travel to Pakistan to play the Asia Cup later this year. Pakistan have created a furore over this and threatened to not send their team to India for the ODI World Cup in retaliation.
“I have kept my options open because when all teams are coming to Pakistan and have no issues with security. Then why is India worried about the security. In the same way we can also have security concerns over sending our team to India for the World Cup and I will be bringing this to the table at the coming meetings," Sethi said in March. There were reports that Pakistan’s ODI World Cup matches will be played in Bangladesh, but those have been dismissed by International Cricket Council (ICC) sources.
The IPL got underway on March 31 at Ahmedabad with a match between Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans.
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