Mumbai/Karachi, July 31: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) traded blows on Saturday (July 31) after former South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs accused the Indian cricket governing body of threatening him to withdraw from Kashmir Premier League (KPL 2021).
KPL is a T20 league organised with the blessings of PCB, and some former cricketers like Gibbs, Monty Panesar, Tillakaratne Dilshan etc are set to appear in the six-team league.
The PCB responded to Gibbs' tweet on Kashmir Premier League via a press release. "Pakistan Cricket Board has expressed its displeasure over reports that the Board of Control for Cricket in India has called multiple ICC Members and forced them to withdraw their retired cricketers from the Kashmir Premier League.
"The PCB believes the BCCI has once again breached international norms and the spirit of the gentleman's game by interfering in internal affairs of the ICC Members as the KPL has been approved by the PCB.
"The PCB considers that the BCCI has brought the game into disrepute by issuing warnings to multiple ICC Members to stop their retired cricketers from featuring in the Kashmir Premier League, further threatening they will not be allowed entry into India for cricket-related work.
"Such conduct from the BCCI is completely unacceptable, against the preamble of the Spirit of Cricket and sets a dangerous precedence, which can neither be tolerated nor ignored," said the PCB.
"The PCB will raise this matter at the appropriate ICC forum and also reserves the right to take any further action that is available to us within the ICC charter," the released concluded.
The BCCI responded saying PCB is welcome to raise the issue in any appropriate forum. "While one can neither confirm or deny the veracity of the statement made by a former player who has figured in a CBI investigation into match-fixing earlier, the PCB must understand that even if Gibb's statement is assumed to be true, the BCCI would be well within their rights to take decisions with respect to the cricketing ecosystem in India.
"The fact that the Indian cricketing ecosystem is the most sought after for cricketing opportunities globally, should not be envied by the PCB," a BCCI official told ANI.
"PCB is coming across as confused. Just the way the decision to not allow players of Pakistani origin to participate in the IPL cannot be construed as interfering in the internal affairs of an ICC member, the decision, if any, to allow or disallow anyone from participating in any manner with cricket within India is purely an internal matter of the BCCI," the official added.
The official also said the PCB can take up the matter with the ICC, but in the end, everyone knows why the Pakistan board is behaving this way, and what is motivating their actions.
"They are welcome to raise the matter at the ICC and one can understand where this is coming from but the question that they need to ask themselves is whether it is on account of government interference in their working since the PM of Pakistan is officially their Patron as per their own constitution. It is time to consider whether this issue also ought to be raised at the ICC," said the official.
Earlier on Saturday (July 31), former SA batsman Gibbs took to Twitter saying: "Completely unnecessary of the @BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me playing in the @kpl_20. Also threatening me saying they won't allow me entry into India for any cricket related work. Ludicrous."