Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan on Friday slammed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for barring Pakistani players from participating in the Indian Premier League (IPL), saying that the decision “reeks of arrogance”.
However, Khan — during an interview that covered several topics with Radio Times — said that Pakistan should not be too concerned about this behaviour since they have a good T20 league and an exciting crop of young players.
Due to strained relations between the two neighbouring countries, Pakistan cricketers were part of the IPL only in its inaugural edition back in 2008.
“It is unfortunate, the relationship between Pakistan and India. There is a lot of arrogance in the way India now behaves in the cricketing world as a superpower. Because of their ability to generate a lot of funds, more than any other country, I think they almost dictate now with the arrogance of a superpower, of who they should play and who they shouldn’t,” Imran told Times Radio on Friday.
“I find it strange that the Indian cricket board should take it out on the Pakistan cricket players [by not allowing them to feature in the IPL] and it just reeks of arrogance.
“But Pakistan now have a very good quality super league too and foreign players come to Pakistan. I think if India doesn’t allow Pakistan players, then so be it. We have an excellent clutch of young cricketers coming up so we shouldn’t worry about it.”
Despite being considered one of the sport's greatest rivalries, India and Pakistan have not met on home soil in any version of the game since 2012, and only play each other in multinational tournaments on neutral grounds.
It must be noted that the eighth season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) concluded earlier this month, with the Lahore Qalandars — under the leadership of Shaheen Afridi — becoming the first team to win back-to-back titles.
Meanwhile, Friday will see the launch of IPL’s 16th season as 10 teams battle it out for the elusive IPL trophy.
Mumbai Indians will bid for a record-extending sixth title, with 74 matches scheduled at 12 venues over eight weeks.
In the opener at the world's biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, defending champions Gujarat Titans will play Chennai Super Kings.
IPL has recovered from corruption and match-fixing scandals to generate billions for the Indian economy each year, and last season expanded to 10 teams with Gujarat and Lucknow Super Giants.
The cash-rich tournament is set to run until May 28.
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