Pakistan players at ‘ProKabaddi League’ after all!
It was an open secret, only to a few though. The three Pakistan Kabaddi players and a technical official who were granted visa by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad last Thursday were actually present at the National Sports Club of India (NSCI), Worli, on Monday to get a feel of the inaugural Star Sports ProKabaddi League.
Officials of the league and the national federation had told the media that the Pakistani players and an official were not in the city and may join their respective teams at Kolkata. The Indian High Commission had earlier rejected the applications of Nasir Ali (Pink Panthers Jaipur) and Mohammad Sarwar, Secretary, Asian Kabaddi Federation.
Sources revealed on Tuesday that it was tough for any promoter or organiser to field Pakistan sportspersons in any competition in the city due to regional political party’s vehement stand on this particular aspect after the 26/11 terror attack in 2008.
“They don’t look different; they are like us. But it’s a very sensitive issue and for the league, the stakes are very high. We want a trouble free start. Probably they will be seen in action from second-city leg in Kolkata. They have to first practice with Patna Pirates and Telugu Titans; then they may get a chance to play,’’ said an official involved in the organisation of the Rs. 1 crore prize money league.
Telugu Titans which forced a dramatic tie with U Mumba did not field Atif, employed with the Government of Pakistan and Wajid, an employee of the Pakistan Navy. They were named in the team sheet though. Both Atif and Wajid were bought at Rs. 4 lakh each. Patna Pirates did not play Pakistan Army employed Waseem in the last league of the Mumbai-leg against U Mumba.
While the Pakistani Kabaddi players have to wait for a few more days to make their debut in the high-profile league, Pakistani squash player Nasir Iqbal was quite lucky. He spent five days in Mumbai in the first week of June to play in the Cricket Club of India-PSA squash event.