The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has issued a warning for those looking to take part in the upcoming league in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
According to a report published in The Indian Express, BCCI has informally told cricket boards around the world that those participating in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)-promoted Kashmir Premier League (KPL) would be banned from associating with leagues in India or having any commercial connection with the Indian board.
“While asking the boards not to allow their players to take part in the Kashmir league, we have informed them that in case they do, they can’t be part of any cricketing activity in India. We have done this keeping national interest in mind,” a top BCCI official told The Indian Express.
The official further clarified that this move is an extension of the Indian government’s policy.
“We have no problems with those playing the Pakistan Super League (PSL) but this is a league in PoK. We are toeing our government’s line.”
On Saturday (July 31), former South Africa cricketer Herschelle Gibbs accused the BCCI of trying to prevent him from taking part in the inaugural edition of KPL, due to start on August 6.
Taking to Twitter, Gibbs wrote, “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.”
After Gibbs’ tweet, PCB issued a statement, alleging that BCCI has called multiple ICC Members and forced them to withdraw their retired cricketers from KPL.
Following a statement from the PCB, a conflict might erupt between the two cricket boards in a T20 World Cup year, with India and Pakistan set to face each other at the showpiece tournament.
“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,” the PCB said in its statement.
“Such conduct from the BCCI is completely unacceptable, against the preamble of the Spirit of Cricket and sets a dangerous precedent, which can neither be tolerated nor ignored,” it said.
The Pakistan Cricket Board also wants to raise this matter “at the appropriate ICC forum”.
The BCCI, however, brushed aside PCB’s statement, with an Indian cricket board official telling The Indian Express: “We are not bothered about what statement PCB is putting out. We are mindful of Indian cricket and India.”
KPL has six teams in the tournament which are named Overseas Warriors, Muzaffarabad Tigers, Rawalakot Hawks, Bagh Stallions, Mirpur Royals, and Kotli Lions.
Pakistan's popular cricketers Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, and Kamran Akmal are the captains.