When is KPL happening?
The Kashmir Premier League (KPL) is scheduled to start from August 6 in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) and will be contested by six teams captained by Pakistan’s current and former cricketers – Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim.
What makes it controversial?
Former international cricketers are being warned by the BCCI against taking part in the inaugural KPL tournament.
Why is Jay Shah (BCCI Secretary) involved?
The controversy snowballed when on Saturday, former South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs tweeted that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) warned him against taking part in the league which has been sanctioned by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
According a report in Al Jazeera, the former South African batsman confirmed the developments before adding that “the message from Mr Shah [BCCI secretary] was sent to Graeme Smith [Cricket South Africa’s director of cricket] who passed it on to me”.
Allegations by Rashid Latif
On Saturday, former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif also alleged that the BCCI was warning cricket boards against allowing their players to take part in the tournament.
“The @BCCI warning cricket boards that if there former players took part in Kashmir Premier League, they won’t be allowed entry in India or allowed to work in Indian cricket at any level or in any capacity,” Latif said.
Why is PCB upset?
Pakistan Cricket Board has expressed its displeasure that the BCCI has called ICC Members and forced them to withdraw their retired cricketers from the Kashmir Premier League.
The PCB said “it considers that the BCCI has brought the game into disrepute by issuing warnings to multiple ICC Members to stop their retired cricketers from featuring in the Kashmir Premier League”.
“There were messages sent to England’s cricketers too. We’ve been told that the players were warned they won’t be allowed to travel to India again if they take part in the KPL.”
International players taking part in KPL
Gibbs and Tillakaratne Dilshan [former Sri Lankan cricketer] have confirmed their participation in the league.
Four former England cricketers, Owais Shah, Matt Prior, Phil Mustard and Monty Panesar will be also be playing in this year's KPL but their participation is yet to be confirmed after Saturday's events unfolded.
What makes it political?
Since gaining independence in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir. Both sides claim the region in full but administer separate parts of it.
India and the BCCI claim the Kashmir Premier League is designed to promote Pakistan's version of the story and legitimise Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
India's version of the story and national interest
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has come up with a strong stance over the Kashmir Premier League (KPL). As per a report in the Indian Express, BCCI has informally informed the boards that any participation in the controversial league will mean their commercial tie-ups with the BCCI will be over. A BCCI official said that the decision has been taken while keeping national interest in mind and that the board has no problems with players playing in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) but it had to draw the line when it came to a league in PoK.
“We have no problems with those playing the PSL but this is a league in PoK. We are toeing our government’s line," the official added.