Government agrees to issue visas to Pakistani players

Participation only through Jan 19 auction, clarifies Modi

Government agrees to issue visas to Pakistani players

Lalit Modi

Ending days of uncertainty, the Indian government said visas would be issued to the Pakistani players, who had submitted applications with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and Wellington but their partipation in the Indian Premier League would depend only if the franchises buy them in the auction.

Although the Pakistan Cricket Board will make a request to IPL to do away with the visa deadline, the organisers of the Twenty20 event may find it difficult to accomodate the four Pakistani cricketers in the normal process.

IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi said the Pakistani cricketers have missed the deadline for the third IPL and the only way they can be part of the Twenty20 tournament is through the January 19 auction.

Modi said the Pakistani cricketers missed the bus by failing to get visas by the December 7 deadline and the IPL franchises have already replaced them with fresh recruits.
In such a scenario, the Pakistani cricketers could hope to be part of the event only through the next round of players auction. “Yesterday all the teams were required to do the replacement strategy and the replacement was allowed for those players who are not going to be part of the squad”, Modi said.

“Unfortunately the teams have already signed their replacements. Kolkata Knight Riders have already replaced Umar Gul with Charls Langeveldt, Misbah-ul-Haq (of Royal Challengers Bangalore) has been replaced by Roelof van der Merwe and there have been replacements in the Rajasthan Royals also. These replacement contracts have already been placed and cannot be reversed,” Modi said.

The only ray of hope for the Pakistani players, Modi said, was to come through the next auction.

“There is an option coming up on January 19. If there are spots open, they can then apply for the auction now. Because you have to go through the process, now the process for applying for auction is by January 1,” he said.

Modi said that the IPL board will take a call on January 17 on the contracts which have been terminated because of visa problems.

The four Pakistan players who have been cleared for visa are Sohail Tanvir, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Gul and Kamran Akmal. PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt said that he was in constant touch with Modi over the issue.

“I will be pushing for the IPL to do away with the deadline condition and allow our players to take part in the IPL,” Butt said.

Minister sacked

Meanwhile, hours after his tirade against Indian cricket administrators, Pakistani Federal Sports Minister Aftab Shah Jillani was removed from his post by the government.
An announcement said Ejaz Hussain Jakhrani would assume charge as sports minister.  Jillani has been appointed Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination.

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