English cricketer Monty Panesar pulls out from KPL due to ‘political pressure’

Panesar fears he would have to face grave consequences

LONDON: England’s veteran Monty Panesar has excused himself from participating in Kashmir Premier League (KPL) 2021, citing “political pressure” and “advice” from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Taking to Twitter, the left-arm bowler confirmed that he has decided not to participate in the KPL. The former left-arm spinner feared he would have to face grave consequences if he participates in KPL.

“I have decided not to participate in the KPL because of the political tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir issues. I don’t want to be in the middle of this, it would make me feel uncomfortable,” the cricketer wrote on Twitter.  

Meanwhile, talking to YouTube channel Sports Yaari, Panesar said the BCCI had “advised” him that if he played in KPL 2021, the “consequences” of his decision could include not being granted a visa to India in the future.

He also stated that all cricketers who participate in the Kashmir tournament would not be allowed to play in India in the future. “It is the start of my sports journalist career, I want to do broadcasting and commentary all over the world. Whatever opportunity or work I get in India, I want to do that. I cannot jeopardise it,” he added.

“Cricket is very big in India and the country has a strong cricket board along with a lot of opportunities”, Panesar said, while terming participation in the KPL too risky a decision for him.

Gibbs’ allegations and PCB’s response

Panesar’s decision came days after South Africa batsman Herschelle Gibbs accused the BCCI of attempting to prevent him from participating in the inaugural KPL.  He said the BCCI had also threatened of denying him entry in India if he participated in the league.

“Completely unnecessary of the BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me [from] playing in the KPL,” the Proteas great said. “[They are] also threatening me saying they won’t allow me entry into India for any cricket-related work. Ludicrous,” he tweeted.

Reacting to the development, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) issued a statement, saying it would “raise this matter at the appropriate ICC (International Cricket Council) forum and also reserves the right to take any further action that is available to us within the ICC charter”.

The Kashmir Premier League T20 2021 is the first edition of the KPL. Of the six teams playing in the inaugural season, five teams are from Azad Kashmir while the sixth one is from outside the region.

The league is the second T20 competition arranged by the PCB after the Pakistan Super League and is set to play from August 6-17 in Muzaffarabad.

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