Image Credits: PTI/AP
Pakistan's attempt to use 'gentlemen's game' cricket as a political tool has been backfired as England's former spinner Monty Panesar has withdrawn his name from the upcoming PoK league. The following development comes after South Africa's former cricketer Herschelle Gibbs accused India's Cricket board of threatening him against participating in a sham cricket league Pakistan has planned in PoK. Following that the PCB in its official release had threatened the BCCI to raise the matter in the ICC. However, the BCCI rapped the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and said that they are 'welcome to go to ICC'.
Now, Monty Panesar in an exclusive interview with Republic Bharat announced that he will not be participating in Pakistan's sham 'Kashmir Premier League' and also warned the other participating players to think about the consequences first before taking part in the Pakistan Occupied 'Kashmir Premier League'.
Speaking to Republic Bharat, Monty Panesar clearly stated that he has just started his sports media career and the stakes are too high to play in the 'KPL'.
"I had the opportunity to play in the 'KPL' and I thought I could play again. However, I was advised that the BCCI is telling players who will play in the 'Kashmir Premier League' might face consequences. As I am just starting my career in sports media I want to work in India. Therefore I thought it would be better to not play in the 'Kashmir Premier League'. I don't wanna come between cricket and politics," said Monty Panesar
"I am a player I was just seeing this as an opportunity to resume playing gradually and make a comeback in cricket but after seeing the consequences, it is too risky for me to play in the 'KPL'. Therefore, I thought it would be best if I don't play in the league" added Monty Panesar.
On being asked about what message he would like to give to the players who are considering to take part in the political cricketing league, Panesar said, "Every player will try to grab the opportunity to play again. But I hope if we don't play the league, India will give us opportunities to work. We want to work in India. We want to do commentary, coaching in India.
"It's their decision whether they want to play it or not. I have been instructed by the ECB. But they should know about the consequences if they play in the 'KPL', "Panesar further stated.
Pakistan's sham 'Kashmir Premier League', the first edition of which will be played between five teams representing cities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and one team representing "overseas" Kashmiris, was announced in December 2020. Shahid Afridi has been named the captain of Rawalakot Hawks, confirming the league's geopolitical mischief quotient. The other teams in the franchise tournament will be represented by international Pakistani cricketers such as Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Muhammad Hafeez, and Fakhar Zaman. All matches in the competition are scheduled to be played between August 6 and August 16 in Muzaffarabad Stadium in PoK, while other former international players like Tillakaratne Dilshan and Monty Panesar have also been roped in. However, Panesar has now withdrawn his name from the league.