KPLs’ inaugural edition is set to be played between August 6 and 17.
Taimoor Khan, Director Cricket Operations Kashmir Premier League, has confirmed that the league’s inaugural edition will go ahead as per schedule from August 6 to 17th, 2021, with six teams – Rawalakot Hawks, Kotli Lions, Mirpur Royals, Muzaffarabad Tigers, Overseas Warriors, and Bagh Stallions – battling it out in Muzaffarabad.
“Kashmir Premier League will go ahead as planned. In case some foreign players cannot participate due to pressure then we will include Pakistan players who weren’t picked in the draft.”
Meanwhile, earlier on July 31, former South Africa cricketer Herschelle Gibbs, who is a part of the Overseas Warriors in the league, accused the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) of threatening and pressurizing him not to participate in KPL owing to their political tensions with neighbours Pakistan.
“Completely unnecessary of the BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me playing in the KPL,” the Proteas great said. “[They are] also threatening me saying they won’t allow me entry into India for any cricket related work. Ludicrous,” tweeted Gibbs.
Reacting on the same, Taimoor Khan stated that it is sad for the sport if the local players miss out on a chance to gain the exposure of playing with foreign players. “It will be sad if local Kashmir players won’t be able to play alongside top foreign players and if they can’t share the dressing room with them. We are monitoring the situation from our channels (regarding foreign players),” said Khan.
President KPL Arif Malik said, “We have been saying from day one that we don’t have any political agenda and our aim is to promote cricket. Our Kashmiri players are very keen to play alongside foreign players. We want to showcase the peaceful side of Kashmir to the world and the tournament will be broadcasted live in 22 countries. Indian media is spreading negative news.”
Plenty of overseas stars set to participate in KPL
KPL’s overseas contingent boasts the likes of many international stars such as Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka), Tino Best (West Indies), Gibbs, Albie Morkel, Rory Kleinveldt (South Africa), Matt Prior, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Monty Panesar, Phil Mustard and Chris Tremlett (England (England).
Further, in the platinum category, Pakistan players Asad Shafiq, Haider Ali, Haris Sohail, Imam ul Haq, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Irfan, Sharjeel Khan, Sohail Tanveer and Usman Qadir were on the roster.