Are ICC and PCB bowing down to BCCI, again?
It was in June 2011 when the International Cricket Council (ICC) made certain amendments to their rules. These rules clearly stated that cricket boards which are found to have political interferences will be sacked immediately. This rule was introduced to free the sport from undue government influence. However, the question remains, where was this rule when it came to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)?
Well, had it been applied then, Indo-Pak cricketing ties would have never been in jeopardy.
BCCI tends to cross its limits and continues to bring political interests in the field of sports. At first, they suspended cricket ties with Pakistan after terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008, and have played only one short-term series with Pakistan since then. However, Pakistan never lost hope and neither complains about how cricket between the two nations continues to suffer, owing to the constant political tensions between them. In fact, it has always been Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) utmost priority that cricketing ties with India should be improved.
From former PCB Chief Zaka Ashraf to Shaharyar Khan, all have been trying to revive cricket between the two countries. Ashraf was the only successful chairman to convince India for a series after the Mumbai attacks took place.
Later on, Najam Sethi took over and accepted India’s rules in terms of the Big Three, only because of the illusionary Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that allows the two countries to play only five bilateral series over the next eight years.
Since the MoU has been signed, there was clearly a one-sided effort by PCB to play series against India. PCB Chairman Khan, after a few weeks, visited India to convince BCCI Chief Jagmohan Dalimya for the series and it was purposed that the first of the five bilateral series will be played in December this year.
Interestingly, the series against India was only cooking up in our minds, because India was never serious about any kind of series with Pakistan. BCCI Chief Dalmiya, in the very first meeting with Khan, said that without common support they cannot go forward.
A series of events have revealed how India was playing with our emotions by their ever-changing acceptance and denial policy. Right after the Khan-Dalmiya meeting, former Indian Home Secretary, RK Singh expressed his opposition to the proposed Indo-Pak cricket series in Lok Sabha.
A few days later, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen favouring the cricket ties with Pakistan; however, a hate speech was then delivered by the prime minister in Bangladesh, creating havoc again between both countries.
On July 27, 2015, the Gurdaspur terror attack took place, which Indians presumably believe was Pakistan’s design, and rather than investigating the matter further, the first step India took was to throw the Pakistan-India series into hot water. In only a span of a few minutes, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur announced that no series will take place until there is peace in India.
As if anyone can guarantee peace in India, or for that matter anywhere in this world. Trust me when I say that the Gurdaspur incident is just one of the final nails in the coffin.
Indians are in control of the cricket button for Pakistan, which proves to be torturous for Pakistani cricket fans, so they’ll keep fiddling with it for as long as they like. And we can only earnestly hope for the revival of cricket with a country which is so insecure that they considered a pigeon flying across the Line of Control (LoC) a spy.
However, the technical part is the MoU signed between India and Pakistan.
Does it hold any value?
Does it have any credibility?
The Big Three received Pakistan’s vote on the basis of the MoU, now if the terms are not being fulfilled, who will be answerable?
Cricketing ties are being cancelled over political reasons, where is ICC and its rules now?
Oh I forgot, this is the same ICC who was very actively involved when three of our cricketers were caught in allegations over spot fixing and remained silent when the BCCI President N Srinivasan’s son-in-law was given a life-time ban over betting in cricket.
Above all, India has recently restricted Pakistan on playing the ICC world T20 matches in Mumbai and Nagpur, because the old villain Shiv Sena has a hold in Maharashtra. Therefore, Pakistani players will be at risk if they play there. The irony is that India has always opposed playing series in Pakistan, because they have security reservations, but they themselves can’t guarantee the security of Pakistani players when they are the host of the ICC event.
On what grounds, did they get the hosting rights from ICC?
Did they deliver the message earlier that all the countries will be allowed to move freely in India except Pakistan?
If the Indian government cannot provide security clearance in two of their major cities, then how can the rest of the country be safe?
Can ICC give security assurance to Pakistani players during the event?
If the tables had turned, India would have already refused playing in Pakistan and ICC would have changed the venue long before the event.
Not too long ago, the former Pakistani captain Wasim Akram spoke of the bilateral series kept in India in 1999. Shiv Sena threats were evident at that time as well, but it didn’t come between the game, thus Pakistan played the full series in India. It’s surprising how we are treated now.
After taking all the facts into account, one has to understand that the rivalry between these two nations is still on, be it on the LoC or in ICC. Interestingly, when India-Pakistan cricket matches used to take place, there was always the element of hatred, sledging, on-field clashes and aggressive crowd experiences.
Nevertheless, now the situation has changed. From cricket fights on the field, it’s turned into rivalry off the field.
It’s high time that PCB decides whether they want to be the doormat or a cricketing power on their own feet. We will be misused like this unless we don’t take strong decisions for the future of our cricket.
We should send a message to BCCI that Pakistan will not play cricket against India unless they pay respect to our country and to Pakistani cricket.
If the PCB doesn’t realise its importance, Indians will continue with their famous saying,
“Kab aaye ga mauka mauka?”
(When will we get a chance?)
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.