Legends League Cricket Season 2: Will BCCI allow Pakistan players to play on Indian soil?

The Legends League Cricket T20 – which was held in Oman in January 2022 – has announced hosting the second edition in India in the month of September-October 2022 across six cities. In the first edition of the league saw three teams — India, Rest of Asia and Rest of World — taking part.

The organisers also announced the BCCI President, Sourav Ganguly, as one of their top buy along with several big names from other cricketing nations, including West Indies, England, South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan.

The presence of Pakistan cricketers in the league and their participation, however, raises a few questions because that alters the BCCI and the Government of India’s stance vis-a-vis its cricketing ties with Pakistan.

The T20 league has a long list of former cricketers from Pakistan including Shoaib Akhtar, Misbah-ul Haq, Shahid Afridi, and many others comprising the Asia and World XI teams. So, it will be interesting to see the Government of India’s stance on the league and how it allows it to host it on Indian soil when the ‘nation has severed all cricketing ties with the neighbouring country till they stop supporting and funding terrorists to inflict mass destruction on Indian soil’. This is one of the reasons why Pakistan players are not allowed to take part in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL).

It is also interesting to note that all Pakistan cricketers, both former and current, many of whom are playing in the League are strong advocates and promoters of the Kashmir Premier League (KPL). Indian government and BCCI have strongly objected to and condemned the organising of the Kashmir Premier League (KPL) and have banned all cricketers playing in KPL from playing any form of cricket in India.

In addition to that, the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly endorsing the league will also send mixed signals in regards to the league and the government and BCCI’s stance. BCCI secretary Jay Shah, who also is the son of Home Minister Amit Shah, could also be asked to intervene as the centre has been pretty vocal in its stand that it will not play bilateral matches with Pakistan.

Former India cricketer and BJP MP from East Delhi, Gautam Gambhir, has in the past claimed that if the BCCI wishes it can boycott playing matches with Pakistan in the world cups as well. Although, Gambhir hasn’t yet made any comments on the participation of Pakistani players in a league on Indian soil. The organisers have also included Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium as one of the venues.

A manager of one of the six venues where the league organisers have reached out to host the has informed MyKhel that they are not aware of the players set to participate in the league. He has asked the LLC to furnish them with a list of players who will be playing in the tournament because Pakistan players are banned from participating in cricket leagues in India.

“We have asked the LLC organisers to give a list of players who are going to participate in this tournament because the league which was played in Oman had several Pakistani players in it. The Indian Government, as well as the BCCI, has banned the participation of Pakistani cricketers in the country due to the estranged relations with the neighbouring countries. We cannot allow Pakistani players to play at our venue because of the same,” a manager at one of the venues which the tournament organisers have put in their official announcement told MyKhel on condition of anonymity.

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