Pakistan cricketers will not be a part of the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) despite the resumption of bilateral ties between the two countries.
Even as the Pakistan team landed in India on Saturday for the eagerly awaited series of Twenty20 matches and one-day internationals, it was widely reported in the Indian press that the players have been snubbed by IPL franchises.
The Pakistan Twenty20 squad led by Mohammed Hafeez on Saturday reached Bangalore, where they will be playing the first of the two T20s on December 25, DNA reported.
The PIA flight first arrived in New Delhi late in the afternoon and the squad was received by senior officials of the Pakistan High Commission and BCCI officials. They later took a connecting flight from the Capital to Bangalore.
“We were received by the officials of Pakistan High Commission as well as BCCI chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty. The players got a warm welcome and were presented with lovely bouquets,” PCB GM (Media Affairs) Nadeem Sarwar, who is accompanying the squad, said.
DNA quoting unnamed BCCI sources and IPL franchises reported that the players from across the border will not be part of the cash-rich tournament which is scheduled to be held in April-May next year.
At an IPL workshop conducted in Jodhpur over the last two days, the franchisees have been told categorically that no cricketer from Pakistan will be part of the auction, it said.
Pakistanis did not feature in a list containing players who will feature in the IPL auction tentatively slated for February 3.
It contains rejects of the past auctions and those released by the franchises in October.
IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla and chief operating officer Sundar Raman were among the officials who conducted the workshop, the report said.
However, the IPL authorities have told the teams that there could be an updated list in the first week of January. Each team is allowed a pool of 33 players, out of which 11 can be overseas cricketers.
Meanwhile, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) have prevailed upon the Sri Lanka and West Indies boards to postpone a series scheduled for May since it would have clashed with next year's IPL.
The West Indies are the reigning World T20 champions while the Lankans had finished runners-up in this year's tournament. The postponement ensures that a host of stars, including the likes of Chris Gayle, will become available for the entire IPL 6 season.
The Lankans were originally scheduled to tour West Indies for two Tests, three ODIs and two T20 internationals in May. The series will now be accommodated into the ICC's Future Tours Programme (FTP) at a later date. Incidentally, the IPL 6 schedule was also released on Friday.
"The Sri Lankan tour of the West Indies was rescheduled to allow players from both teams to participate in the IPL," Imran Khan, corporate communications officer of the West Indies Cricket Board, said in a press release.
The matter was first brought to the notice of the IPL franchises by the Lankan players themselves, who told their team owners to settle the matter with the Indian board as they wouldn't be available for the entire IPL season, Times of India reported.
BCCI then got in touch with the two boards (SLC and WICB) and discussed the matter.
The board has also promised a tri-series in exchange for allowing the Lankan and West Indies players to take part in the IPL.
The WICB announced that the tri-series - involving India, Lanka and the hosts - would be held from June 28 to July 11, right after the final edition of the Champions Trophy in June in England next year.
"As part of the ICC FTP, Sri Lanka was originally scheduled to tour the Caribbean for two Tests, three ODIs and two Twenty20 internationals in 2013. The two Tests have been deferred and will be played at a later date in the FTP cycle," the release said.
For the West Indies, the Tri-Nations is part of a busy 2013 schedule which also sees Zimbabwe touring the Caribbean for two Tests, three ODIs and two Twenty20s, and Pakistan arriving for a limited overs series.