New Delhi:Was it a political threat to the IPL team owners that compelled them to shirk away from picking Pakistani players for the third season in the last week's auction?
Indian actresses and IPL team owners Shilpa Shetty and Preity Zinta were reportedly threatened into snubbing Pakistani cricketers.
Speaking to Mid-Day, Shilpa said: "If you ask an Indian whether he would like to see Shahid Afridi play in our country, he would say yes. But you must look at it pragmatically and see that we have had these people who are constantly threatening."
"It's not something we hold against the Pakistani players. We completely understand the situation but as franchise owners are we willing to take that risk? If something happens to the Pakistani players, the onus lies on us and who is going to take responsibility for a situation like that," she further added.
According to some reports, Shiv Sena had threatened them against the participation of Pak players.
"We have these lunatic fringes that decide to say we won't allow these people in the country and see what we will do if you bring them in. Are we going to, in the midst of so many crore that we are investing in this game, sit and protect them," Shilpa, the co-owner of Rajasthan Royals said.
Preity Zinta, co-owner of Kings XI Punjab, allegedly received threats too.
''We would have loved to have the T20 world champions in our teams to bring real joy to the extravaganza but what can we do if we have certain threats about not only our own safety, but the safety of the Pakistani players too, with no official quarter assuring us of foolproof security of players during the tournament,'' Zinta told a news channel.
In the IPL players' auction last week, none of the team owners bid for any of the eleven Pakistan players. Soon this cricketing controversy snowballed into a diplomatic row with Pakistan players reacting furiously.