The KPL ran into a major controversy after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) alleged that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was interfering in the internal matters of an ICC member. The BCCI hit back saying that they are well within their rights to take decisions with respect to the cricketing ecosystem in the country.
Amid the controversy, Panesar took to his official Twitter account and confirmed that he won’t be playing in the KPL. His tweet read:
“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. #KPL2021 #Kashmir #india #Cricket #Pakistan #ENGvIND #TheHundred.”
Earlier, former South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs accused the BCCI of trying to prevent him from featuring in the KPL. His tweet read:
"Completely unnecessary of the @BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me playing in the @kpl_20. Also threatening me saying they won't allow me entry into India for any cricket related work. Ludicrous."
Following this, the PCB released a statement, claiming the BCCI had once again breached international norms by interfering in Pakistan cricket’s internal matter. The PCB statement read:
“The PCB believes the BCCI has once again breached international norms and the spirit of the gentleman's game by interfering in internal affairs of the ICC Members as the KPL has been approved by the PCB."
BCCI has urged ICC not to recognise KPL: Reports
As per a report in ESPNcricinfo, the BCCI has approached the International Cricket Council (ICC), urging it not to recognise the KPL. The report stated that the Indian board has expressed its displeasure with the event to the ICC in writing.
The BCCI is said to have based its complaint around the status of Kashmir as disputed territory and the long-standing issue between India and Pakistan over the region. The report, however, pointed out that the ICC might not be able to do much about the KPL controversy.
Approval for domestic leagues like the KPL is given by the Full Member country in which the tournament is being played. The KPL has already been approved by the PCB. As for cricket matches in disputed territories, there is no such ICC regulation to deal with the matter.
KPL 2021 will feature six franchises and is set to be held from August 6 to August 17.