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IPL could have been respectful to Pak: SRK

IPL could have been respectful to Pak: SRK

Shah Rukh Khan says the entire matter has left a sour taste in the mouth.

New Delhi: Indian Premier League (IPL) team owners have so far denied in one voice that they deliberately did not bid for Pakistani players during the auction in Mumbai on January 19.

Now a prominent member has broken rank and voiced his opposition to how the entire matter was handled.

Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan has admitted that the entire matter left a sour taste in the mouth.

Shah Rukh Khan’s team had the maverick Pakistani paceman Shoaib Akhtar in its ranks during the inaugural edition of the Twenty20 tournament in 2008.

Two years later, while SRK gave the player auction a miss, his fellow franchisee owners decided to give up on the chance to buy Pakistanis at all and since then they have been defending their decision.

But now King Khan has chosen not to toe the line.

"They are the champions, they are wonderful but somewhere down the line there is an issue and we can't deny it. We are known to invite everyone. We should have. If there were any issues, they should have been put on board earlier. Everything can happen respectfully," he told a news channel.

Shah Rukh's statement is bound to ruffle the feathers of other team owners, who have been defending their decision to give the Pakistanis a miss unapologetically.

"A lot of Australian players were not taken in the auction but zeroed in on that particular thing. So the idea of sensationalising the country's conscience is handlelled by the media. It is very, very important for the media to react sensibly," said Kings XI Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta.

"Are we in a situation to provide security with certain political parties and lunatic fringes constantly threatening? I don't think that is something that we wanted to take the onus for. And we were the losers," said Shilipa Shetty, co-owner of Rajasthan Royals.

IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, too, won't be pleased with SRK. After all he has been blaming the media for the controversy.

"Why are you taking the case of only one country?" Modi had asked the reporters.

Clearly just as the storm was showing signs of tapering off, SRK's words are bound to find resonance on both sides of the border.

first published:January 25, 2010, 08:01 IST