New Delhi:Terming non-inclusion of Pakistani players in IPL as "disservice to cricket", Home Minister P Chidambaram said there was no "hint or nudge" from the government to do so.
Describing some of them as "among the best Twenty20" cricket players, he said "these players were coming as individuals, it was not a Pakistan team."
"...I think it is disservice to cricket that some of these players were not picked. I don't know why the IPL teams acted in the manner they acted. But certainly to suggest that there was a hint or nudge from the government is completely untrue," the minister told Times Now.
No Pakistani player was bought by the eight IPL teams during an auction last week for the third edition of the competition despite Pakistan being the reigning world champions in the Twenty20 format of cricket, triggering a strong reaction from Pakistan government which saw it as snub and called-off official visits to India.
Asked whether he thought that Pakistan was over-reacting on the issue, Chidambaram said "well, you see, if no player from a country is picked, obviously the country does feel insulted. But whether the reaction is proportionate or not it is not for me to comment.
"But as I said, cricket lovers are disappointed that no player from Pakistan was picked. I think that could have been avoided."
Chidambaram also said personally, as a cricket lover, he was disappointed over non-inclusion of Pakistani players. Noting that the government had issued 17 visas to these players, he said "in fact, I am disappointed that the IPL teams, IPL organisers did not pick any Pakistani player ." "...We gave the visas and we have nothing to do with this," he said.