Mumbai:We owe no answer to anyone, is what Lalit Modi and Rajasthan Royals co-owner Shilpa Shetty have to say on the IPL auction where no Pakistani player was bid for earlier this week.
While the issue has taken a political hue in Pakistan, IPL chief Lalit Modi has emphatically said: "The owners and only the owners have the prerogative. If the owners don't pick them up, what can I do?"
Modi, whose effigies have been burnt in Pakistan, said while announcing the IPL schedule, "I was always hopeful that the Pakistanis would be selected. This has nothing to do with the IPL I am not a super selector."
Clearly irked, Modi asked: "Why should we get into this issue of apologising or not apologising. IPL has put its best foot forward and included the best players. Why aren't you saying I should apologise to Canada and Netherlands and Australia and Zimbabwe whose players were not picked up?"
However, miffed at the snub given to Pakistani players at the third Indian Premier League auction, the PCB said it would lodge a formal protest with the ICC.
PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt and the Federal minister for sports Ijaz Hussain Jakhrani said they have unanimously decided to take up the issue with the ICC.
"We will be lodging a complaint with the ICC and I will personally table this issue at the next meeting of the ICC executive board on February 10," Butt said.
Earlier in a press conference in Mumbai, actress Shilpa Shetty said not bidding or the Pakistani players "was not a contrived attempt. We lost out on the best players. We don't owe any explanation anyway." The Pakistan issue was clearly not a popular topic at this forum.
She also requested the people of India and Pakistan to act maturely, saying, "Things have been taken out of proportion."
Modi accused the media of being the reason for "such a furore." "You've written enough about this. You can continue writing. This is not a Pakistan related presser. I want to clarify. We don't owe an explanation. We request people in Pakistan and India to respond maturely. I'm not answering any Pakistan related question. This is not a Pakistan forum," he said.
IPL Chairman was informed that his effigies were burnt in Pakistan for snubbing their players, he cheerfully replied: "For every effigy burnt I will go and plant 200 trees. The media is biased."
But apart from the Pakistan players controversy Mr Modi has a lot on his plate. The Telangana agitation has forced the organisers to shift the opening match of the IPL from Hyderabad to Mumbai.