On Monday (August 2), English cricketer Monty Panesar recused himself from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir Premier League (KPL) citing professional and political reasons. The development came hours after the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) made it clear that one who participates in the contentious Pakistani League cannot be a part of any cricketing activity in India.
In a tweet, the retired English left-arm spinner wrote, “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”
In a video shared by CricWick, Monty Panesar further elaborated on his decision to pull out of the PoK League. He informed that the English Cricket Board (ECB) and Professional Cricket Association (PCA) had apprised him of the consequences of participating in KPL, including, cancellation of visa to India or denial of cricketing-related work. “This is my initial stage of career in sports journalism, broadcasting, and commentary. I will be looking forward to opportunities, including those in India. I cannot jeopardise (my career) and create problems for myself in the later stage,” he emphasised.
“The choice has been given to the players. BCCI has communicated the same to all cricketing Boards…India is a big country with a lot of cricketing opportunities. I am not ready to take that risk (let go of these opportunities). Moreover, Kashmir is a political issue between India and Pakistan and I don’t want to come in the middle of that,” he concluded.
Former 🏴 spinner @MontyPanesar has decided to pull out of @kpl_20 after reportedly receiving threats from @BCCI denying him entry to India for cricket related work 😲— CricWick (@CricWick) August 1, 2021
He feels it is “too risky” to participate in the league given the tensions 😕
🎥: @DSBcricket #KPL2021 pic.twitter.com/DZeZmUcCxl
The raging controversy began after South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs accused the BCCI of preventing his participation in the KPL. He alleged that BCCI had threatened him that he will not be permitted to enter India for any cricket-related work in the future if he participated in the cricket league in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. It must be mentioned that PoK is an integral part of India. Given that the Pakistani government had decided to host a cricketing League in India’s territory, the BCCI had informally communicated to all cricket Boards about the consequence of participating in KPL. It emphasised that its stance was an extension of the policy of the Indian government.
Monty Panesar had supported ‘farmer protestors’
The English cricketer had earlier vowed his full support to the anti-farm law agitation in India by ‘farmer protests. In a tweet on November 28 last year, he said, “What happens if the buyer says the contract cannot be fulfilled because the quality of crop is not what was agreed , what protection does the farmer have then? There is no mention of fixing a price??!! #kissanprotest #kissanektazindabad”
The three new farm laws are brought in by the Central government to help farmers sell their produce to whoever they wish to while getting rid of the middlemen who stand in a position to exploit the farmers. Since the new laws are enacted, ‘farmer leaders’ and Arhatiyas (middlemen) mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been blocking the borders to Delhi demanding roll back of the laws the farmer unions themselves had demanded ahead of 2019 elections. Since then, the ‘apolitical farmer leaders’ have been going to all pollbound states and campaigning against the BJP. The ‘farmer leaders’ also have been receiving explicit support from the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Aam Aadmi Party.
‘Embarassed’ British cricketer was forced to delete his Twitter poll on Narendra Modi
After UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled his visit to India in light of the Coronavirus pandemic on the occasion of Republic Day, the Modi detractors began targeting the Indian Prime Minister. They jumped at the opportunity to draw an equivalence between the British PM and PM Modi, who they believes was doing little to sort out the grievances of the ‘farmers’. Monty Panesar ran a Twitter poll on his official Twitter page, to gauge the pulse of the netizens in determining who is the better Prime Minister.
The former spinner, who also supported the ‘farmers’ protest at the Delhi border, floated the poll by asking: “Who is the better PM. Since Boris cancelled his trip to India to focus on domestic response to the virus @BorisJohnson and @narendramodi handling of #farmersprotest, after all, Modi is the people PM or am I mistaken? The cricketer gave the Netizens four options: Boris is better; Modi is better; Modi should help his people; Boris made the right decision. However, the former cricketer quickly deleted his tweet after 90 per cent of the respondents voted in favour of Narendra Modi.