Despite the prevailing political tension between the two countries, the Indian cricket board officials are singing tunes of goodwill with their Pakistan counterparts. However, when it comes to deciding on Pakistan’s participation in the lucrative Champions League T20, uncertainty exists.
Faisalabad Wolves, who won the Faysal Bank Super-Eight T20 Cup on Sunday, are eligible to take part in the lucrative event as Pakistan’s domestic T20 champions.
Sialkot Stallions became the country’s first domestic side to take part in the tournament last year after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to invite the Pakistan side following years of snub. The Shoaib Malik-led team took part in the tournament qualifiers.
However, at the moment there is no surety that the BCCI will follow the trend for this season.
“It’s uncertain at this moment in time,” an official close to the league organiser told The Express Tribune.
“I’ll say if the event was to be held next month then it would have been next to impossible to include a team from Pakistan due to obvious reasons.
“But since the event is scheduled in the last quarter of the year we can hope things get better and tensions will decrease sharply.
“There has always been a division among the BCCI officials when it comes to relation with Pakistan cricket. The focus right now is on the India Premier League (IPL) and there will be plenty of meetings to discuss the issue after the event.”
In contrast to Ijaz Butt’s tenure, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), under Zaka Ashraf, has improved ties with the BCCI as the neighbours played a bilateral series in India in the end of 2012 after a huge gap following invitation from the India board.
However, there was a dip in relations between the two countries following cross-border tension. Subsequently, Pakistan players, who were expecting IPL slots for the upcoming season, were snubbed once more by the league organisers.
Other sports were also affected due to the tensions that saw India withdrawing from a bilateral snooker series and a hockey series. India’s handball team also pulled out of the South Asian Beach Championship, due to start tomorrow.
The Pakistan’s women team also suffered during the ICC Women’s World Cup and was confined to the stadium after hotels showed reluctance in providing hospitality amid warnings from right-wing political parties in India.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2013.