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English cricketers unlikely for cricket league in PoK: BCCI

English cricketers unlikely for cricket league in PoK: BCCI, the vie

The English cricketers are unlikely to be part of the Kashmir Premier League (KPL). A BCCI official informed The Indian Express that they have been assured by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that their players wouldn’t be part of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) promoted tournament in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) that starts on August 6.

“Yes, we have heard from the ECB that they aren’t releasing any player (for the PoK league),” a BCCI official told The Indian Express. The Indian board is expecting similar responses from other boards also. This came a day after the BCCI had expressed its opposition to the tournament in PoK, saying that it was following the government stand. “We have no problems with those playing the Pakistan Super League (PSL) but this is a league in PoK. We are toeing our government’s line,” a BCCI official had said on Saturday.

The BCCI and ECB share an excellent relationship which resulted in the former allowing centrally contracted women cricketers to participate in the ongoing women’s The Hundred competition in England. It is learnt that talks are on between the two boards to allow a few Indian men players to be part of the men’s The Hundred from the next year onwards. The BCCI, however, is yet to take a decision in this regard.

On Saturday, a top BCCI official confirmed that contacts have been made with all the cricket boards. “We have informed all the boards not to allow their former players to take part in the Kashmir league. We have done this keeping national interests in mind,” he told this paper.

The KPL will be played with six franchises; five representing cities from PoK, while the sixth, Overseas Warriors, is reserved for overseas Kashmiris. The league’s launch saw a heady mix of Pakistani/PoK politicians and former Pakistan cricketers. Wasim Akram is KPL’s founding vice-president, while Shahid Afridi is the league’s brand ambassador.

Former South Africa opener Herschelle Gibbs, one of the accused in the 2000 match-fixing scandal, has signed up to play for Overseas Warriors and he alleged that the BCCI is “trying to prevent” him from playing in the league. A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) statement followed, which said that “the BCCI has brought the game into disrepute by issuing warnings to multiple ICC Members”. Pakistani politicians, too, waded into the issue. A BCCI official, however, dismissed the PCB statement, saying: “We are not bothered about what statement PCB is putting out. We are mindful of Indian cricket and India.”

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