The PCB has voiced its concern with news that the BCCI has contacted ICC Full Members in an attempt to prohibit retired players from those countries from participating in the Kashmir Premier League (KPL), a new T20 tournament due to begin in Pakistan in August.
Interfering in the internal affairs of cricket boards, according to the PCB, is a violation of “international norms and the spirit of the gentleman’s game.”
The PCB was responding to a tweet by Herschelle Gibbs, who is expected to participate in the league: “It was completely needless for the BCCI to bring up their political agenda with Pakistan and try to block me from participating in the KPL20.
They’ve also threatened to bar me from entering India for any cricket-related job. Ludicrous.”
The KPL is a six-team franchise model league organised by private businesspeople with government permissions and, most importantly, PCB approval.
The competition, which will begin on August 6 and end on August 17, will be held in the Muzaffarabad cricket stadium in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
The squads were chosen through a draught procedure last month and are named after cities in the region – Kotli, Bagh, Mirpur, Rawalakot, Muzaffarabad, and one team of international players.
According to organisers, Monty Panesar, Matt Prior, Phil Mustard, Tino Best, Tillakaratne Dilshan, and Gibbs were among the retired foreign players who had signed up to play.
However, a player agent in England notified the KPL management that the BCCI had contacted the ECB and Cricket South Africa, informing them that their players would be unable to work in India until they withdrew from the league.
Since India’s independence and the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Kashmir has been at the centre of the conflict – and the source of multiple wars – between the two countries. Both countries have jurisdiction over a portion of the region, although they administer it separately.
The two countries’ political and diplomatic ties have fluctuated over the years, but they are now fragile. Relations between the two boards are usually influenced by the political climate of the period. The PCB had proposed allocating a PSL franchise to Kashmir few years ago, but it never came to fruition.
“The PCB believes the BCCI has tarnished the game by sending warnings to numerous ICC Members to discourage their retired cricketers from playing in the Kashmir Premier League, as well as threatening them with deportation if they return to India for cricket-related employment,” the PCB said in a statement. “Such behaviour by the BCCI is entirely unacceptable, since it goes against the spirit of cricket’s preamble and establishes a dangerous precedent that cannot be accepted or disregarded.
The PCB will bring this issue to the attention of the appropriate ICC forum and reserves the right to pursue any other options open to us under the ICC charter.”