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An alternate view

by Homer

Plenty has been said about the "snubbing" of Pakistani players during the IPL-3 auction. Politics, cricket, insults to the nation, deep disappointment, effigy burning, grandstanding, name calling, business, finance, prudence, conspiracy... the whole nine yards.

And to all this, I want to raise an alternate view.

A short history lesson to lay down the ground for my hypothesis.

During IPL2, franchises were keen on playing Pakistanis. So was the PCB. But the Pakistani Government intervened and issued a no go. And the no go stayed in place even after the event was relocated to South Africa.

Now consider the chronology of events

August 25, 2009

Akram's candidature, however, is not expected to carry much weight because, as one franchise official said, the former Pakistani legend would essentially be a bowling coach. It is learnt that Akram himself is less keen on a full-time coach's job and would like to work as a consultant

September 9, 2009

Pakistan allrounder Abdul Razzaq has said that the PCB has cleared him to play in the IPL, claiming that Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) were keen to seek his services for the third edition

November 5, 2009

November 16, 2009

November 17, 2009

November 21, 2009

 November 25, 2009

December 2, 2009

December 8, 2009

December 9, 2009

December 9, 2009

December 10, 2009

December 10, 2009

December 11, 2009

December 30, 2009

Dec 31, 2009

Afridi is likely to feature in Pakistan’s upcoming one-day series against Australia and is also set to lead his country in the Twenty20 showdown between the two countries in Melbourne in February. “Compared to IPL and all the other Twenty20 tournaments I think this [Big Bash] tournament is very tough,” Afridi said. “[There is] good cricket and good pitches and I think this is a good preparation for me before playing in the one-dayers against Australia. “Definitely if I perform well I will go with good morale so it’s very important for me. “I always enjoy cricket, especially in Australia and India, and I think you can learn a lot of things here when you play with good cricketers on a good track. “If you perform here it matters a lot, so I’m always keen to perform.” 

Forget the politics, the economics, the business aspects and every other argument made thus far.. Consider just this - as a franchise owner, given everything that has transpired thus far, how do I derive confidence that the Pakistanis are even half serious in their participation in the IPL? What assurance do I have, that having spent a small fortune on recruiting a player, the player will be even bothered to show up, let alone showing up with his A- game? And what about the Pakistani cricketing establishment? Having initiated the conversation on getting Pakistani players in the IPL, they have done their utmost to drag their feet over the issue, whether getting clearances or visas. And then there are the utterances of the captain of the Pakistan T-20 Cricket team.

At a basic human to human level, what actions of the Pakistani establishment and its players invoke any kind of trust that they will follow through? And bereft of trust, what point any further conversation on the issue?

PS:- S.M Krishna's statement today is particularly illuminating
Giving details of the visas issued at very short notice in December 2009 and January 2010 to participate in IPL 2010, the ministry said 17 Pakistani cricketers were issued requisite Indian visas during this period.
"Two visas were issued in Islamabad, while three were issued in Wellington (New Zealand) and 12 in Sydney (Australia), where the concerned Pakistani players had applied while touring New Zealand and Australia, respectively.
"Based on a request from the Pakistan Cricket Board to High Commission of India in Islamabad, the Ministry of External Affairs facilitated necessary clearances from other Ministries of the Government of India," it said.
The ministry also said the Pakistani cricketers had participated in the first edition of IPL in 2008 but not in the second edition in 2009. One Pakistani cricketer participated in the Champions League T20 tournament held in India in October 2009.
 12 visas issued in Sydney, Australia. Which dovetails with the statement on December 30 that Pakistani players were yet to apply for a visa at that time. Pakistan played the Sydney Test between Jan 2 and Jan 7. The deadline for visa clearance was Dec 7. What explains the delay? Is there an explanation?



Rohit said...

Don't know about that. Though I'm not much of a Punter, it seems to be that taking a chance on a proven player with the risk being he may not get to play is eminently more agreeable than taking a chance on an unproven player. The risk in the second case being that he may not perform at all, given the chance to play.

Simply put, I would pick Afridi, Gul and Aamer(at base price!) and keep my fingers crossed regarding the state of diplomatic affairs (Considering there are hardly any days left for either side to get miffed!) rather than splurge on Pollard(?), Martyn(??), and Kaif(?????). If three teams were fighting over Kaif after the auction was over(during which he remained unsold) then something has gone wrong somewhere...

Homer said...

You are guaranteed Kaif's presence. The same guarantee does not extend to the Pakistanis. It is enlightening that on Dec 30, there is a statement which reads

"All the players here have sent emails to Lalit Modi expressing their interest for next season," one of the players told Cricinfo. "We haven't yet applied for visas to India but we have the NOC's in place from the board."

Given that the deadline for the visa clearance was the 7th of December, it speaks volumes of the seriousness with which the Pakistani players and establishment approached the IPL auction.

Which then begs the question, will you be willing to punt on someone who is so flaky that you really don't know what to expect and when?


Mahek said...

If the franchises were not sure of their availability they shouldn't have got these players into the auction, isn't it?

Homer said...


Umar Gul, Kamran Akmal, Misbah Ul Haq, Sohail Tanvir and Abdul Razzaq are part of IPL 3, if they are willing to travel to India.So, Pakistani presence or absence in IPL 3 hinges entirely on the Pakistanis.

Now, if you are arguing that just because Pakistani players were in the auction, they should automatically get selected, then I have no counter argument to that.

And pray tell me what is it that the Pakistanis on the auction block do radically different from other players in the auction other than get clearances from their government and a valid visa, both a by product of the Pakistan Government's ban on player participation in IPL 2?


Homer said...


Modi said the deadline had already been extended twice for Pakistan and another delay would handicap franchise planning and team-building for the next season, due to begin in March. "We follow the same procedure for all countries," Modi told Cricinfo. "We ask players to obtain all permission - whether NOCs from boards, government and visas. We provide the back-up letters and players get their documentation. We had a deadline of November 20 for all players. At the request of PCB chairman Ijaz Butt we extended it twice, first to November 30 and then to December 7.
Two points here - firstly franchise planning and team-building is outside of the purview of the IPL committee and secondly, the IPL committee cannot bar any player who has met the requisite requirements for being a part of the auction, irrespective of franchise requirements.

Unless you are suggesting that the IPL committee influence franchise team selections and vice versa!


Mahek said...

Lalit Modi makes up these rules as he goes along. If team building and all that is so important I wonder why there were last minute signings in the last season when Kings XI hired Yusuf Abdullah.

To my knowledge, the Pakistani players had acquired the required documentation at the time the auction took place. Their availability wasn't suspect from that side of the border. The franchise owners can say what they want but they could have done well to avoid all this by simply choosing to not show interest in Pakistani players before the auction.

Homer said...


The IPL has released its final list of 66 overseas players who will be involved in the IPL auction on Tuesday. The list is a mix of rising stars such as Kieron Pollard and Eoin Morgan, and ICL returnees like Shane Bond and Damien Martyn in addition to Pakistan players returning to the IPL-fold. The list includes players from all eight Test-playing nations other than India, with 11 players from Pakistan, Australia and South Africa; nine from Sri Lanka; eight from England and West Indies; four from New Zealand and one each from Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Canada and Holland.

Initially, 97 players had registered for the IPL auction and once the franchises had gone through the names, the list was pruned to 66.

Now the only point of contention is this - in the initial list of 97, the Pakistani names read

Pakistan: Mohammed Aamer, Shahid Afridi, Shahzad Ahmed, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Yasir Arafat, Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez, Yasir Hameed, Faisal Iqbal, Asim Kamal, Danish Kaneria, Mohammad Khalil, Abdur Rauf, Khalid Latif, Azhar Mahmood, Shoaib Malik, Khurram Manzoor, Saqlain Mushtaq, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Imran Nazir, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Sami.

In the list of 66, the Pakistani names read

Pakistan: Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Gul, Imran Nazir, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Mohammad Aamer, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir

How players who were already contracted to their franchises made it to the auction is the only point of contention. And I have not been able to find a single news article that indicates why the ambiguity.

Now you are welcome to second guess motives, from Lalit Modi down to the franchise owners - I cannot comment on that. What I can comment on is the chronology of events and what happened when.


Homer said...

Found it

Pakistan’s players have to go through the auction process to take part in the next IPL spell, the league’s commissioner Lalit Modi has said. His statement came shortly after the Pakistan board said it had been informed that visas for four players – Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Misbah ul-Haq and Kamran Akmal – had been arranged by the Indian government.

Modi said even those four players would need to go through the auction on January 19 because their franchises had replaced them. He said Bangalore Royal Challengers had swapped Misbah with Roelof van der Merwe, Kolkata Knight Riders had put in Charl Langeveldt for Umar Gul, while Rajasthan Royals, who had Akmal and Tanvir in the first IPL, contracted Johan Botha.

Akmal, Gul, Misbah and Tanvir all applied for visas – the first three in Wellington, where they are concerned in a Test series, and Tanvir in Islamabad – and Ijaz Butt, chairman PCB, confirmed that permission had been approved. “Yes the visa clearance has been granted for four of them, three in New Zealand and one in Islamabad”.

However, they had botched to obtain the visas by the deadline of December 7. Modi said the time limit had already been extended twice for Pakistan and another delay would handicap franchise arrangement and team-building for the next season, due to begin in March.

The players now have to prepare themselves available for the auction after which they will go into the ultimate pool only if a franchise conveys his interest in bidding for a player.

Anonymous said...

'do I derive confidence that the Pakistanis are even half serious in their participation in the IPL'

I'm not convinced they are serious about Test cricket.

Reverse Swing said...

There was just a one tactical mistake, after knowing it well ahead that Pakistanis will not make it to IPL-3 Modi should have stopped it well ahead during mid November.

Homer said...


Thats being wise after the event...


Homer said...


Let me expand on that thought - All through the process, the Pakistanis had as much opportunity to bail as did the IPL. If getting clearances was an issue, they could have bailed. Visa application a problem, they could bail. They could have bailed when thier captain made it clear in December that they would be better off focusing on the World Cup. Or they could have bailed when their captain did not rate the IPL to be as tough as some other T20 tournaments.

They could have bailed when they dragged their feet over every issue. And they could have bailed instead of filing for visas in January 2010.

At every step of the way, the Pakistanis chose not to.

Its easy to blame Modi for not pulling the plug in mid November, but why did the Pakistanis wait until January 2010 before committing themselves instead of walking away?