Is Our Cricket Protest Justified?

Posted on August 26, 2008
Filed Under >Syed Ahsan Ali, Society, Sports
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Syed Ahsan Ali

ICC Champions Trophy which was to be held in Pakistan in September 2008 got postponed to October 2009 due to the security concerns of not one, not two but four ICC members. New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and England remained adamant throughout negotiations that inspite of Pakistan Cricket Board’s remarkably well job in persuading them to visit Pakistan they have genuine fears regarding the security of their players.

Without any semblance of doubt, it is indeed sad news for Pakistani cricket. It left Pakistan as an unwanted place to tour and Pakistani players in limbo for having no cricket from last few months to coming few months. India surprisingly backed our stance with utmost proficiency otherwise this postponement could have changed into a relocation of venue to Sri Lanka. It alteast gives Pakistan half a chance of hosting this tournament again in 2009.

But as honesty demands, do we need to look for reasons for this reluctance on the part of international cricketers to visit Pakistan? Are we convinced that their fears are misplaced and unjustified? Pakistani cricket forums are trying to paint this reluctance as sheer hypocrisy of international boards. Many hold a view that few months back when Jaipur erupted with bomb blasts which accounted several human lives at the time of IPL, no foreign cricketing soul thought about hiring a cab to airport because IPL was a gold mine.

Another view is that by boycotting Champions Trophy in Pakistan they could make room for more T20 Champions Leagues here and there which provide far more lucrative options for sponsors, players, organizers and corporations.

May be all these allegations and ill-conceived notions regarding the security of foreign players in Pakistan are false and over-emphasized, but do we also think that their fears are based on mere profit-hunger and hypocrisy than on judgment and truth? I think not.

Aren’t we all Pakistanis carrying fears of bombings and killings while walking in the streets of Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi? Don’t we operate under a psyche of fear of being harmed in our mosques, roads, hotels and now even in the hospitals? So is it fair on our part for asking favors that can cost them their lives? So in my opinion instead of wandering for made-up sympathies and alien assurances, we need to bring our house in order first.

I hope the situation improves by October 2009 and Pakistan can sucessfully host this prestigious tournament.

19 responses to “Is Our Cricket Protest Justified?”

  1. auk says:

    This is the death of Pakistan cricket. It is not the security situation that is to blame as teams have been coming here until end of last year. Pakistan cricket started on a downward path the day Inzamam walked out of the cricket field at the Oval. Pakistan, before that English tour, was the 3rd and 2nd ranked country in tests and one days respectively. We have been paying the price of that decision since, and it only appears that that process has accelerated now. 2008 will be the first year when Pakistan has not played any test cricket in a long while, when all other countries (barring Zimbabwe) have such busy schedules.
    The bad news is that it is not just the white countries, but now even Sri Lanka has refused to come here; I wonder why, when their country itself is embroiled in a civil war for the last few decades.
    The insistence of BCCP on getting the Champion’s trophy played here is misplaced. What is the possibility that teams will agree to come here next year, when there is not even an agreement on the dates for this event. They should focus only on getting bilateral events to try to build the system back. Otherwise, cricket as we knew it will become a thing of the past.
    There is also a danger of our players losing their edge if this silent boycott protracts itself any longer. We have already lost Asif, one of the greatest talents to have come on the international scene in the last few years, who risks banned for life. Without any international exposure, other players will start going downhill soon.

  2. Gugu says:

    Until the performance of our team improves, the situation will not change. The reason Aussies are willing to play in India despite Jaipur bombing and in London despite 7/7 is because it makes an interesting contest. The game itself is exciting, players enjoy the challenge, the games go to wire and the outlook of grounds and spectrum of watching the game is also attractive. The security situation of course needs to improve but the decision is based on just more than security. Aussies, Kiwis, English and Porteas teams find it easy to say No to us because they don’t see much ‘cricketing’ thrill in playing against Pakistan anymore. People don’t turn up on stands, outfields are slow, grass is dull, pitches are dead and they beat Pakistan without doing much. In a tight crammed schedule of international cricket, the tours to Pakistan then become good opportunity for players to rest and spend time with families. And in security issue, they have an excuse to rest up on!

  3. Junaid Abbasi says:

    IPL cannot be compared with Champions Trophy, they are just different animals.

    I think we need to bring our house in order first and then debate over politics or racism.

    Question: If China was able to successfully host the Olympics despite the on-going protests over human rights violations and the situation in Tibet, why couldn’t Pakistan host a small tournament like Champions Trophy? Should we outsource Security and Law & Order to China?

    Answer: China has a working model that may be we can leverage. We should think along these lines in order the bring the consumer confidence back.

  4. Riaz Haq says:

    While I am disappointed with the reluctance of the four teams to visit Pakistan as the country experiences a wave of suicide bombings by the Taliban, I am not surprised. But I think Pakistan should have persuaded ICC to proceed with the tournament in spite of the absence of some teams. This would not have deprived those who wanted to play or watch the opportunity they were looking forward to.

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