Former South Africa international cricketer Herschelle Gibbs accused the Indian cricket board of trying to stop him from participating in a Twenty20 league in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The 47-year-old Gibbs plans to play for the Overseas Warriors in the six-team Kashmir Premier League, which runs from 6-17 August and includes several retired international cricketers.
Gibbs said in a tweet on 31 July that it was “completely unnecessary” of the Board of Control for Cricket in India “to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me playing in the KPL. Threatening me saying they won’t allow me entry into India for any cricket related work. Ludicrous.”
Several former England international players Monty Panesar, Matt Prior, Phil Mustard, and Owais Shah have withdrawn from the KPL. The Pakistan Cricket Board said that the BCCI has “once again breached international norms and the spirit of the gentleman’s game by interfering in internal affairs of the ICC members as the KPL has been approved by the PCB.”
The PCB said it will raise the matter at the appropriate International Cricket Council forum. According to KPL media manager Saqib Abbasi, four players from England and one each from South Africa and Sri Lanka have refused to play in the KPL after being pressured by the BCCI. Pakistan’s government also reacted strongly against the BCCI for politicizing cricket.
BCCI hits back at Gibbs, PCB for targeting Indian board
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has slammed former Proteas batsman Herschelle Gibbs and the PCB, saying the Indian board is well within their rights to take decisions with respect to the cricketing ecosystem in the country.
This response from the BCCI comes on the same day when former Proteas batsman Gibbs criticised the Indian board for allegedly stopping him to play in the Kashmir Premier League.
“While one can neither confirm or deny the veracity of the statement made by a former player who has figured in a CBI 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. The fact that the Indian cricketing ecosystem is the most sought after for cricketing opportunities globally, should not be envied by the PCB,” a BCCI official said.
“PCB is coming across as confused. Just the way the decision to not allow players of Pakistani origin to participate in the IPL cannot be construed as interfering in the internal affairs of an ICC member, the decision, if any, to allow or disallow anyone from participating in any manner with cricket within India is purely an internal matter of the BCCI,” the official said.
The official said that the PCB can take up the matter with the ICC, but in the end, everyone knows why the Pakistan board is behaving this way, and what is motivating their actions.
“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,” said the official.