Decision to ignore Pak players taken by franchisees: Modi

NEW DELHI/KARACHI: IPL chairman Lalit Modi said on Tuesday that it was the franchisees' decision to not Pakistan players.
Modi, when asked whether it was decided beforehand that teams would ignore Pakistan players, said: "There was no pre-decision. They (franchisees) were all worried about availability and that's why the Australians weren't picked along with many other players. All that we keep hearing now is one story - about nobody bidding for Pakistani cricketers."

Modi also said there was no government involvement in the affair. "The franchisees decide on their own. Government has no say. We never said in the first place that the government in any which way nudged us in that direction. It was a decision was taken by the franchisees and let's leave it at that," he said.

On PCB's statement that it would not release Pakistani players for the future IPL editions, Modi said, "We will discuss this with the Pakistan board officials when we meet them and I am sure the Pakistani players will return."

Modi refused to react to Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan's comments that "if there were issues they should have been put on board earlier".

He also didn't say much on Rajasthan Royals coach Darren Berry's comment that he was keen to pick Umar Akmal but could not. "I can't comment on something they should have done... At the end of the day it was the franchisees' decision, we don't decide on picking any player."

Meanwhile, in a statement on a Pakistani website, Afridi said he was hurt and angry initially but now he could see reason and was open to playing in IPL or Champions League.

"After the IPL auction I was deeply hurt and angry. The way Pakistani players were treated was disrespectful and in my view wrong. In times like these, as a Muslim the examples of our Prophet has guided me and I'm therefore willing to forgive and forget what has happened and to look ahead," he said.

Afridi said he would be happy to play in India as fans there have always welcomed him. He also made it clear that since South Australia had qualified for the Champions League Twenty20, he would be available to play for the Australian state side in the event in India this year.

Meanwhile, paceman Sohail Tanvir, who played for Rajasthan Royals in the first edition, echoed Afridi's sentiment. "I have nothing personal against India and if any opportunity arises in future where I am invited to play in the IPL or Champions League, I will definitely go if my seniors do the same," he said.

"Look, when I went to India with the Pakistan team in 2007 and after that for the IPL inaugural season, I was warmly welcomed and treated well. It (the snub) came as a rude shock. It was very sad but, like I said, if our board and senior players say we should go I will also go to play in India," he added. 

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