MUMBAI: Pakistani cricketers will not feature in the third edition of the Indian Premier League this year after being ignored by franchises at the players' auction on Tuesday.
None of the 11 Pakistanis who went under the hammer, including flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi, were sold despite their national team being the reigning World Twenty20 champions.
Pakistani cricketers took part in the IPL's inaugural season in 2008, but were denied permission by Islamabad to play last year due to growing political tensions with India.
Multi-millionaire owners of the eight clubs, who attended the auction, declined to comment on why the Pakistanis were kept out.
But a franchise official, who preferred to remain unnamed, told AFP that he was not surprised.
"We were not sure if the Pakistanis will get visas and we did not want players who won't be available," he said. "Besides, there is also the security issue. No one was willing to take a chance."
Afridi, 29, told AFP from Australia, where he is featuring in the domestic Twenty20 competition, that "Pakistani players were humiliated".
"We applied for the IPL only on their insistence and not on our own."
Pakistan's Sohail Tanveer, who helped the Rajasthan Royals win the inaugural IPL title in 2008, was equally bemused.
"We have been in demand and made a lot of friends in the first edition but this is disappointing that we were first asked to apply and then not included in the bidding," said Tanveer.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt said that Tuesday's snub "depressed" him.
"It is really very disappointing because we cleared all the hurdles in the players' way (over) visas and clearance... I will definitely talk to IPL chairman Lalit Modi on this issue," he said.
Of a total of 66 players up for bid, only 11 were sold, with West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard and New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond drawing the highest prices at 750,000 dollars each.
Pollard was picked up by Mumbai Indians, owned by India's richest industrialist Mukesh Ambani, while Bond went to Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan's Kolkata Knight Riders.
Another West Indian, Kemar Roach, attracted 720,000 dollars from 2009 champions Deccan Chargers. Promising South African paceman Wayne Parnell was sold to Delhi Daredevils for 610,000 dollars.
The auction was held for cricketers not already linked with any IPL team and was limited to the third edition, which will be held across India from March 12 to April 25.
From 2011 onwards, when the number of teams will be increased from eight to 10, a fresh auction will be held for all cricketers for a three-year term.
Other star players who were ignored at the auction were Australian Test wicket-keeper Brad Haddin, England spinner Graeme Swann, West Indian Ramnaresh Sarwan and Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan.
List of players auctioned:
- Kieron Pollard (WIS) to Mumbai Indians for 750,000 dollars
- Shane Bond (NZL) to Kolkata Knight Riders for 750,000 dollars
- Kemar Roach (WIS) to Deccan Chargers for 720,000 dollars
- Wayne Parnell (RSA) to Delhi Daredevils for 610,000 dollars
- Mohammad Kaif (IND) to Kings XI Punjab for 250,000 dollars.
- Eoin Morgan (ENG) to Bangalore Royal Challengers for 220,000 dollars
- Damien Martyn (AUS) to Rajasthan Royals for 100,000 dollars
- Justin Kemp (RSA) to Chennai Super Kings for 100,000 dollars
- Thissara Perera (SRI) to Chennai Super Kings for 50,000 dollars
- Adam Voges (AUS) to Rajasthan Royals for 50,000 dollars
- Yusuf Abdulla (RSA) to Kings XI Punjab for 50,000 dollars.