Mumbai:Playing down the uproar over the snub to eleven Pakistani players in the Indian Premier League auction on Tuesday, Lalit Modi said teams preferred only risk-free players.
Speaking at a conference in Mumbai, the IPL Chairman said, "If a team has one player to buy, will he buy a player of 100 per cent chance of risk? Obviously not!. And that's what the franchises did. They're eight corporates. The writing on the wall is clear".
In the IPL player auction for the third season, none of the eight franchises bid for Pakistan players, including Shahid Afridi and Sohail Tanvir.
As it happened | Auction Table | All about IPL
To this Pakistan players reacted angrily. Afridi went on to call it a political move, while Tanvir called it an insult to Pakistan and its players. (Read: IPL snub a negative signal, says Afridi)
Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ijaz Butt tried telephoned Modi, who did not answer his calls, to complain about the snub, while Pakistan sports minister called up his Indian counterpart, MS Gill. (Read: PCB to take up IPL snub with BCCI )
"I have phoned the sports minister of India and recorded a protest over the unjust and discriminatory treatment meted out to the Pakistani cricketers," sports minister Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani said on Tuesday.
And though Gill gave a patient hearing to Jakhrani, he made it clear it he could not help his cause. Indian government has denied havning played any role in cold-shouldering Pakistan players in the IPL auction.
"Government has nothing to do with selection of players for sporting events," External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said.
"Pakistan's Sports Minister has spoken to me. But this is a commercial matter and I can't do anything. It has nothing to do with us," he told NDTV.
"Our intention is not to insult anyone or the Pak players. There is apprehension, rightly or wrongly. But we cannot guarantee everyone a slot," Modi said.
"I don't think Pak sports minister should complain. Franchises are selectors for their own team. I'm not controlling them," he added.
Last year Pakistan had not allowed its players to take part in the IPL 2 and most of the teams suffered the losses.
"This is an over-reaction to what happened yesterday. People need to understand that this is a serious issue and there's too much risk associated with these players," Modi said.
"People are looking at past records. And see what happened last year. They weren't allowed to play last year because of 26/11. What if something like this happens again," he said.
Modi also said no body had anything against the Pakistan players.
"The Pak players will play in the Champions League like Shahid Afridi who may play for an Australian team. So we would love to see the Pakistanis participating. And I believe that should play cricket with Pakistan on a bilateral basis. That shouldn't stop," Modi said.