Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday said that it was highly unfortunate that the former South African cricketer, Herschelle Gibbs among other retired international players were pressured by the Indian cricket board to withdraw from the Kashmir Premier League (KPL).
Speaking to the media, he said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has used cricket for political gains in the past as well which was strongly condemnable.
He said that pressuring Gibbs not to participate in KPL will not harm the Kashmir movement, rather it will benefit it. "By stopping international players for their irrational political objectives, Indian rulers will harm themselves," he added.
Fawad said that as there were millions of cricket fans in both India and Pakistan, cricket should be kept separate from politics.
He said that Kashmir Premier League was important for Pakistan cricket and people wanted to see the matches.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), earlier this week, had called multiple ICC members and forced them to withdraw their retired cricketers from partaking in KPL, which is scheduled for August 6-16 in Muzaffarabad.
Gibbs had slammed BCCI for trying to stop him from participating in KPL.
“Completely unnecessary of the @BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me from playing in the KPL. Also threatening me saying they won’t allow me entry into India for any cricket related work. Ludicrous,” Gibbs tweeted.
Completely unnecessary of the @BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me playing in the @kpl_20 . Also threatening me saying they won’t allow me entry into India for any cricket related work. Ludicrous 🙄— Herschelle Gibbs (@hershybru) July 31, 2021
A day earlier, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had also expressed its displeasure over the development.
“The PCB considers that the BCCI has brought the game into disrepute by issuing warnings to multiple ICC Members to stop their retired cricketers from featuring in the Kashmir Premier League, further threatening they will not be allowed entry into India for cricket-related work," a statement from the board said.
“Such conduct from the BCCI is completely unacceptable, against the preamble of the Spirit of Cricket and sets a dangerous precedence, which can neither be tolerated nor ignored.
“The PCB will raise this matter at the appropriate ICC forum and also reserves the right to take any further action that is available to us within the ICC charter.”
Reacting to which, a BCCI official told the local media that the Indian board was "well within its rights" to do anything in the best interest of its cricketing ecosystem.
"While one can neither confirm or deny the veracity of the statement made by a former player who has figured in a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) investigation into match-fixing earlier, the PCB must understand that even if Gibb's statement is assumed to be true, the BCCI would be well within their rights to take decisions with respect to the cricketing ecosystem in India.”
Responding to PCB's intent to take up the issue with the ICC, India’s ANI new agency quoted the official as saying: "They are welcome to raise the matter at the ICC and one can understand where this is coming from but the question that they need to ask themselves is whether it is on account of government interference in their working since the prime minister of Pakistan is officially their patron as per their own constitution. It is time to consider whether this issue also ought to be raised at the ICC."
(With input from APP)
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