Panesar cited the political tension between India and Pakistan to be the reason behind his exit from the league.

Monty Panesar (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for BGC)

Monty Panesar has clarified that opting out of the inaugural edition of the Kashmir Premier League was entirely his personal choice and he was not forced by anyone to take that decision. The six-team T20 league is approved by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and will be conducted in Muzaffarabad, which has led to some tensions between the cricket board of India and Pakistan, who share a long history of a tussle in Kashmir and surrounding areas.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had even requested the ICC to not recognize the KPL, although the ICC denied intervening citing it to be beyond the jurisdiction. That matter garnered limelight when former South Africa player Herschelle Gibbs accused the BCCI of threatening him over participating in the league.

“Completely unnecessary of the BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me from playing in the KPL. Also, threatening me saying they won’t allow me entry into India for any cricket related work,” Gibbs had tweeted on July 31.

Later, the PCB released an official statement where it accused the BCCI of breaching 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, whereas a BCCI official rubbished those allegations the same day.

I decided not to participate because of the political tensions: Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar, who was one of the overseas players certain to take part in the league, cited the political tension between India and Pakistan to be the reason behind his exit from the league. His sudden decision left a few disappointed and a Twitter user went on to accuse the BCCI of having successfully “blackmailed” Panesar. However, the latter was quick to clarify: “I havent been blackmailed by anyone. I been given the advise I understand the consequences and it’s my decision. So pipe down,” read his response.

Earlier, Panesar had tweeted: “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.”

The league is set to be played from August 6 to 17, 2021, in Muzaffarabad with six teams – Rawalakot Hawks, Kotli Lions, Mirpur Royals, Muzaffarabad Tigers, Overseas Warriors, and Bagh Stallions – battling it out for the trophy.


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