The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on August 4 asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) not to recognise the Pakistan domestic T20 tournament — Kashmir Premier League (KPL) — which is to be held from August 6-16. All matches will be held at the Muzaffarabad Cricket Stadium.
In its letter, the BCCI expressed concerns about the status of Kashmir as a disputed territory. The Indian cricket board also cited the political and diplomatic ties between India and Pakistan which have been fluctuating post-Independence in 1947.
However, ICC’s involvement over the issue is limited as for these domestic leagues, approvals are given by the full member country in which the tournament is being played, and not the ICC. Also, in the ICC regulations, there is no mention of scheduling matches in disputed territories. The KPL has been approved by the PCB.
Meanwhile, PCB on July 31 had expressed its displeasure over reports of the BCCI calling ICC members and forcing them to withdraw their retired cricketers from the KPL. The PCB has alleged that BCCI has breached international norms.
“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,” a PCB statement reads.
“Such conduct from the BCCI is completely unacceptable, against the preamble of the Spirit of Cricket, and sets a dangerous precedence, which can neither be tolerated nor ignored. The PCB will raise this matter at the appropriate ICC forum and also reserves the right to take any further action that is available to us within the ICC charter,” the PCB said in the statement.
The BCCI has made it clear that players like Monty Panesar, Matt Prior, Phil Mustard, Tino Best, Tillakaratne Dilshan, and Herschelle Gibbs would be treated by it as the participants of an unrecognised league if they play in KPL.
Gibbs on July 31 said the BCCI had warned him against taking part in the league. “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,” Gibbs wrote on Twitter.
Apart from Gibbs, KPL director — former Pakistan wicket-keeper Rashid Latif — too confirmed the developments through a video message on the league’s Twitter handle.
With the matches likely to be played in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and tensions between India and Pakistan rose in the recent past, the matter may get escalated on the political front too.