Pakistan’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Fawad Ahmed Chaudhry has confirmed that Pakistan will not be airing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 matches, starting March 23.
The decision comes after India’s official broadcaster of Pakistan Super League (PSL), DSports pulled out from broadcasting the Twenty20 games midway through the recently-concluded fourth season held between February 14 and March 17.
Also, India-based producers of PSL, IMG Reliance also pulled out from producing as a mark of protest against the terror attack against Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Pulwama on February 14. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility for the dastardly attack that left 40 soldiers dead.
“During the PSL, the way the Indian companies and the government treated Pakistan cricket… after that, we can’t tolerate that IPL is shown in Pakistan,” Fawad Ahmed Chaudhry told a Pakistan news channel.
Chaudhry insisted that Pakistan wanted to keep sports away from politics but that they were forced to ban broadcasting of IPL matches due to the stance taken by the Indian government and the Indian cricket team following the Pulwama attack.
Notably, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to take action against the Indian cricket team for sporting camouflage caps during an ODI in a five-match series against Australia. Chaudhry had alleged that India tried to politicise cricket by wearing army caps as a mark of protest to the Pulwama attack.
“We tried to keep politics and cricket apart but then the Indian cricket team played matches wearing army caps against Australia. There was no action taken against that. I feel if IPL is not shown in Pakistan it will be a loss for IPL and Indian cricket. We are a cricketing superpower in international cricket,” Chaudhry added.
A section of the Indian cricket fraternity had also urged the India cricket team to boycott the 2019 World Cup match against Pakistan scheduled for June 16 in Manchester.
Only recently, former India captain Gautam Gambhir opined jawans are more important than cricket and that Team India should be mentally prepared to forfeit the World Cup tie against Pakistan.
“You should then be ready to face any eventuality, if they fail to reach the semi-final or have to play Pakistan in the final. If you let go of that World Cup final then the country should be ready for it. There should not be any backlash. Certain sections of the society then start saying that you should not mix sports with politics. For me though, jawans are far more important than two points,” Gambhir said.