IPL ignored and humiliated Pakistani players in the most malicious manner possible. The Indian authorities gave the following reasons, however most people believe them to be petty excuses:
1) Potential difficulty in issuing visas would mean that Pakistani players should have been sidelined
2) Many of the world’s top cricketers were also left out
3) There were threats from some politicians, Shiv Sena and like minded extremists
Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Umer Akmal, Umar Gul etc are amongst the best T20 players in the world, so what was the justification of sidelining them in this manner? Indian government spokesperson Chidambaram clearly defended the government saying that the issuing of visas was not a problem from the Indian side.
The immense confusion and blame game makes it seem like every stakeholder, be it the government, the movie stars or the administrators, has a guilty conscience and no one is brave enough to come out in the open and declare that this was a jingoistic and politically motivated decision.
Shahrukh Khan, hailing from the Pakistani province of NWFP,
gave the boldest statement from an Indian’s perspective saying that politics should not be involved in sport. His comments have been perceived very negatively by Hindu extremists in India, most notably the Shiv Sena who have threatened to not release his upcoming movie, “My Name is Khan”, in Mumbai. They
have also said that if he wants the Pakistanis to play cricket, he should go to Lahore or Islamabad.
Apparently there have been negotiations between Shahrukh Khan and IPL organisers where Khan has convinced some of the organisers to invite Pakistani players. Afridi and Razzaq expressed their interest in playing IPL after this fiasco, however it was disappointing to see a player like Afridi who frequently refers to pride playing for Pakistan, succumb to the temptation of money like this.
Ijaz Butt was seemed confused and directionless to begin with, but now the PCB has made the right decision by banning IPL participation by Pakistanis for 2010. This comes as a blessing in disguise because if these players had participated in IPL, a lot of Indians as well as Pakistanis themselves would have considered these players are some kind of prostitutes who have no self esteem, and can do anything for money.
It is time for these cricketers to realise that their country comes first.
The travesty is that Pakistanis are so cricket crazy that all of these famous cricketers can still lead glamorous and luxurious lives in Pakistan, but they surrender themselves to greed which is why they lose self esteem. Someone like Wasim Akram can make such a huge difference if he becomes involved in academies in Pakistan, but Wasim is more interested making money in India.
This thread is not about jingoism, or an eye for an eye. It is about sending a clear message to Pakistani cricketers that they need to develop some pride. Also, this thread is a lesson for those who believe politics should be involved with sport. Pakistanis need to send a clear message across the border that they have had enough with this constant mixing of politics and sport. Cricket must never be threatened by the whims of some cowardly, hate-filled extremists.
This thread is also not an attack on India. Like most Pakistanis, most Indians are also peace loving people who want to build strong relations with others. Whoever was behind this devious scheme to humiliate Pakistan has received a slap on their face, since most Indians even have criticised this decision.