New Delhi, Jan 27 (ANI): Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Dr MS Gill on Wednesday asked the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchisees to learn a lesson from the auction 'fiasco' and hoped that the Pakistani players would get an opportunity to play in the IPL tournament.
Responding to the reaction made by Pakistani players, Gill said, "I have seen the graceful response of some Pakistani cricketers to the IPL auction fiasco. I welcome the remarks and hope there will soon be an opportunity for these boys to play exciting cricket in India."
"I trust that the IPL corporate owners of cricket have also taken a small lesson from it. Everyone must realise that sports are the bedrock of people-to-people contact, which we need to promote with our neighbours," added the Sports Minister.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had said on Monday that the decision of the franchisees not to select any of the 17 Pakistani cricketers, who had been given Indian visas for participation in the third edition of the IPL, was a disservice to the game of cricket.
IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi had on Tuesday agreed with Chidambaram that there was no nudge form the Central Government with the regard to the selection or non-selection of Pakistani players
"We have never said that the government has given us any nudge. It was a decision taken by the franchise on their own. I am clear about the fact that we have never informed anyone that the government has given us any nudge," said Modi.
He stressed that it was the sole decision of the franchisees not to select the Pakistani players.
Despite a series of tit-for-tat gestures by Pakistan, the Pakistan Hockey Federation has assured that they would remain committed to their participation in the Hockey World Cup beginning next month.
Welcoming their move, Gill said, "I have noted reports of the Secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation of their preparations to come for the Hockey World Cup in Delhi. I look forward to an exciting opening match between India and Pakistan on February 28."
Eleven Pakistani players, including cream of the Shahid Afridi-led reigning Twenty20 World Cup squad, were in IPL auction 3 fray, but none of the eight IPL franchisees took interest in them, fearing the chill in Indo-Pak relation might worsen, resulting in non-participation of these players.
The uncertainty over their availability cost Pakistani players lucrative IPL contracts. (ANI)