England’s veteran spinner Monty Panesar said he decided to drop out from the Kashmir Premier League (KPL) as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) threatened him with visa cancellation through the English Cricket Board (ECB) and the UK’s Professional Cricket Association (PCA).
Panesar, addressing a press conference along with Mirpur Royals owner Raja Suleman Raza on Thursday, revealed officials at the ECB “advised” him there would be serious “consequences” for joining the KPL including the cancellation of visa to India — depriving him of joining the extended family in Indian Punjab.
Panesar said the ECB and the PCA “advised” him last week as the KPL campaign took off and several international players complained of being blackmailed by the BCCI directly and indirectly.
The veteran England cricketer said nobody from the BCCI contacted him directly but he was informed that the ECB and the PCA were conveying the threatening message of visa cancellation on behalf of the Indian cricket authorities.
‘I was hoping to play but then I decided to drop out’ Panesar said he was thrilled when he came to know that he had been selected in the draft and looked forward to playing cricket in Kashmir, but he had to make the decision after being advised of the “consequences”.
“I was hoping to play but then I decided to drop out. The consequences are that my grandparents are aged and they live in India [and I would not be able to meet them]. My grandmother is blind and my grandfather is over 90 years old,” he told the press conference.
The ECB and the PCA informed me I could not get India’s visa, he said, adding that his family comes first and he had to put his cricketing ambitions aside.—Agencies