Flames between India and Pakistan seem to be dousing over the the controversy regarding the non-bidding of Pakistani players for the third season of the Indian Premier League. After allegations and counter allegations for more than a week both the sides seems to be moving towards a mean path. Controversy erupted after none of 11 Pakistani players available for auction were hired by any of the eight teams. Pakistan alleged that India had snubbed it's cricketers after pre-planning.
IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi who had initially hit back at the allegation of any foul play seems to have softened his stand on the issue. While speaking to CNN-IBN Modi said “I am sure the Pakistani players will return. We will discuss this with the Pakistan board officials when we meet them." Modi also added that “Some teams have still not finished their quota of players and some players can still drop out. In that case, franchises can choose Pakistani players as replacements."
Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi who was initially upset at being snubbed said to the media “"When you think about it, Pakistan and India have much more in common than there are differences. We need to build our relations rather than break them. Sport should be used to build peace between our great nations, not break them. Although Pakistan and India have borders, these borders cannot divide humanity."
Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shahrukh Khan who was the first person to come in support of the Pakistani players in an interview with CNN IBN Shahrukh said “I believe my country stands for democracy, goodness and welcome-ness. We should open our arms to everyone and I think we should have a little more leeway in involving people from all over the world to come and showcase their talent."
Sports Minister MS Gill also echoed Shahrukh and 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." Gill had always maintained that the Government had nothing to do with the bidding of the players.
Earlier Home Minister P Chidambaram has lamented the exclusion and said that the “These players were coming as individuals, it was not a Pakistan team." He added that “ I think it is disservice to cricket that some of these players were not picked. I don't know why the IPL teams acted in the manner they acted. But certainly to suggest that there was a hint or nudge from the Government is completely untrue."
Hopefully the flames between the two countries will soon douse. After all cricketing ties between India and Pakistan have always been more than just a game and have always been attached with an emotional string. Which cricket fan would not want to see the explosive Afridi or a dangerous Sohail Tanvir take the field and entertain them.