BCCI urges ICC to not recognise Kashmir Premier League

a group of items on top of a grass covered field: There is also nothing in any ICC regulations about matches in disputed territories © Getty Images

© Getty Images There is also nothing in any ICC regulations about matches in disputed territories © Getty Images

The BCCI has written to the ICC urging it to not recognise the Kashmir Premier League (KPL), the Pakistan domestic T20 tournament which is due to begin on August 6.

On Saturday, the PCB expressed its unhappiness over what it considered the BCCI’s attempts to interfere in the PCB’s internal affairs. That was based on reports that the BCCI had been in touch with a number of other Full Members to try and prevent players from those countries from appearing in the league. Herschelle Gibbs, the former South Africa opener, who is expected to play in the league, said on Twitter that he had been threatened that he wouldn’t be allowed entry “into India for any cricket related work. Ludicrous.”

But it has emerged now that the BCCI had also reached out to the ICC. The basis of the BCCI’s complaint seems to centre around the status of Kashmir as disputed territory – and whether matches can be played in such territories – and its central place in the long-running dispute between the two countries. The status of Kashmir has been the cause of several wars between India and Pakistan from the moment India gained independence and Pakistan was created in 1947. Both countries control parts of the region but govern it separately. Political and diplomatic ties between the two countries have fluctuated over the years, and are currently going through a prolonged low.

Relations between the two boards generally follow on from the political atmosphere of the day, and this latest spat will merely exacerbate an already strained relationship. The two sides have not played each other in a bilateral series since 2012-13 or a Test match since 2007-08, though they do face off regularly in ICC events.

But there would appear to be little the ICC can do about this. Approval for such domestic leagues is given by the Full Member country in which the tournament is being played, and not the ICC, and the KPL has the PCB’s approval. There is also nothing in any ICC regulations about matches in disputed territories.

The KPL is a six-team franchise-model league, PCB-approved, and to be played at the Muzaffarabad cricket stadium in Pakistan-administered Kashmir from August 6. Squads were selected in a draft last month and, according to the organisers, would be captained by Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Kamran Akmal and Shadab Khan.

The BCCI’s concern centres, however, on the foreign players signed up with the league, on the basis that international players turn the tournament into something more than just a domestic event and give it international legitimacy of sorts. Foreign players on the roster are retired and include Monty Panesar, Matt Prior, Phil Mustard, Tino Best, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Gibbs. Through conversations with several boards, the BCCI has made it clear that these players would be considered rebels and would be treated by them as would the participants of any unrecognised league.


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