The third IPL auction, held in Mumbai on Tuesday, has been overshadowed by a controversy arising from the fact that not a single Pakistani player of the 11 on the auction list - including several of the World Cup-winning team - was picked up. Pakistan's players have reacted with anger and attributed the blackout to politics; the IPL has said it was the franchises' decision and the franchises have explained it on grounds of cricketing strategy or availability during the tournament.Pakistan players hurt and angered by snub at auction | Cricket News | Indian Premier League 2010 | Cricinfo.comHowever, the inclusion of Pakistani players in the IPL's final auction list, released on January 6, was on the basis of specific requests received from the franchises - every player on that list had to be officially sought by at least one franchise. It is not clear what changed in the franchises' thinking within two weeks.
India's home minister, P Chidambaram, has said the exclusion of Pakistan players from the third season of the IPL was a "disservice to cricket" and reiterated there was no government advice to do so. There has been outrage in Pakistan over the snub to their players at the IPL auction, where none of their 11 cricketers, several of whom were tipped to be hot buys, were bid for.
"I think it is disservice to cricket that some of these players were not picked," Chidambaram told the news channel Times Now. "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."Pakistan players exclusion a 'disservice to cricket' - India home minister | Cricket News | Indian Premier League 2010 | Cricinfo.comMeanwhile Darren Berry, a member of the Rajasthan Royals' coaching staff, wrote in his column in the Australian daily, the Age, that until a few weeks ago highly rated 19-year-old Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal was the franchise's main target at the auction. However, for reasons Berry wasn't sure of, Akmal dropped off Rajasthan's radar.