Pakistan players snubbed at Tuesday’s Indian Premier League player auction have reacted angrily, with a particularly sensitive Shahid Afridi feeling he has been "made fun of," cricket365.com reported on its website, Tuesday.
Eleven Pakistanis - Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Gul, Imran Nazir, Rana Naved, Mohammad Aamer, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir - failed to peak the interest of the eight bidding franchises.
Speculation suggests Mumbai, Kolkata and fellow IPL teams were not keen to risk large amounts of cash on Pakistan players due to their potential inability to garner visas from the Indian government.
"The way I see it, the IPL and India have made fun of us and our country by treating us this way," said Afridi, who played for the Deccan Chargers in the inaugural tourney in 2008.
"For me the attitude of the franchises was disappointing. I feel bad for the Indian people who I am sure wanted to see us play in the IPL this year," said all-rounder Afridi, who was on offer for the relatively low base price of USD 250,000.
Former Indian Cricket League ‘rebel’ Razzaq echoed Afridi’s sentiments.
"They have basically tried to hurt our cricket and image and this is most disappointing because I believe there should be no politics in sports," insisted Razzaq.
"In the end it is the IPL which has lost out because the fact is our players have star value and are the best in T20 cricket."
Fast bowler Tanvir, who played an instrumental role in the Rajasthan Royal’s triumphant campaign in 2008, was well and truly appalled at Tuesday’s proceedings.
"They mean to say none of our players are good enough to be in the IPL. I am sorry to say the franchises have taken a decision not based on cricketing sense but on political grounds which is a shame and has hurt the image of the sport," Tanvir exclaimed.
"We sent names because we thought the franchises wanted us but if it is all about politics and security they should be clear about it," Tanvir said.
West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard and New Zealand paceman Shane Bond were the big winners at the auction.
Only 11 of the 66 players were sold, with Pollard and Bond attracting the greatest interest with their services going to a silent tie-breaker after at least two franchises offered the maximum amount.
Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata all matched the USD 750,000 price for Pollard after a frantic bidding period.
The four teams were then given an extra five minutes to decide how much extra they wanted to commit with the Mumbai Indians coming out on top after submitting the highest undisclosed offer.
The same scenario panned out with Bond as bidders again took the price to the US dollars 750,000 threshold - although this time from a lower base of USD 100,000.
The 34-year-old was eventually snapped up by Kolkata.
West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach was signed by Deccan for USD 720,000, while South Africa left-armer Wayne Parnell went to Delhi for USD 610,000.
England’s Eoin Morgan was bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for USD 220,000 after they beat an initial offer of USD 210,000 from the Chennai Super Kings.
Morgan will team up with fellow England international Kevin Pietersen at the Challengers.