Shiv Sena, cricket isn’t for creeps

Published: February 19, 2011
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Keep the protests off our cricket field!

Once again, politics has interfered in cricket. The spirit of sportsmanship, that players struggle to maintain received a severe blow when right-wing party Shiv Sena announced that it would decide if Pakistan will be ‘allowed’ to play in Mumbai if the team reaches the final.

A senior member of the party, Manohar Joshi  told the press earlier this week:

“You all know Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s views.

If the Pakistan team reaches the final (scheduled in Mumbai), whether to allow them to play, the Sena chief will decide.

Mr. Thackeray will decide (whether to allow Pak team to play or not).

(The Hindu, February 17, 2011)

While competitive gibes are part of any sport, certain nationalist elements have taken the name calling to a new level.

Keep politics out of the pitch!

This is not the first time Indian right-wing politics has delved uninvited in to the cricket pitch.

Members of Shiv Sena destroyed a pitch at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium in 1991 and vandalised another pitch at Feroz Shah Kotla Grounds in New Delhi in 1999.

In 2010, the party protested against the release of his film My Name is Khan after Shahrukh Khan – who stars in the film – made a statement that Pakistani players should be included in Indian Premier League.

Jumping the gun

The World Cup has not even started yet. Neither team has played a single match. It is therefore, nothing short of ridiculous for a political group to make a statement about the final (which is more than a month away) of the tournament. The goal, it seems, can only to express hate and increase political tension.

This is unfortunate as cricket fans in both India and Pakistan will suffer from the politicization of the sport. Cricket should be kept free of politics and the tension between the countries should remain at the borders. A cricket ground is a pure place where the audience hopes to receive entertainment. Politics has no place here.

raja.yousuf

Raja Yousuf

An MBA graduate and a cricket Fanatic

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.