Cricket and Politics: A Rebel ICC Cannot be Ruled Out!

Ijaz Butt, the PCB Chairman has issued a warning against the countries that are not willing to tour the sub-continent. He says that ‘No touring to those countries, if they don’t play here’.

We all can understand his sentiments as Pakistan has not hosted any international cricket teams of late due to the political turbulence there. More over, the Champions Trophy got postponed as nobody was willing to play there. To make things worse, the Indian tour to Pakistan early next year, in all probabilities will not go through due to the alleged Pakistan links in last week’s terror attack in Mumbai.

India would have liked to laugh at PCB’s plight but unfortunately they are not sitting pretty either. Since the bomb blast last week, things have changed for bad, for India as a whole and not just for BCCI. At the moment, India (like Pakistan earlier) doesn’t seem to be one of the safest places to be in and this can harm not only cricket but more importantly investments in India and India’s long term relationships with other countries. So it is not a BCCI thing alone for a change!

Possible Impacts due to the Current Situation

(1) It is almost clear that India wouldn’t tour Pakistan further due to the changing political situation and the Parliament elections due in another four months. The politicians will play their situational politics very well and these two wonderful cricket playing nations, who resumed bilateral series in 2004 after a gap of long 14 years, may go to no-talking mode again!

(2) In every probability the test series against England will not go through and hence any major teams visiting India in the next few months is pretty grim.

(3) The worst thing: People are even talking about the World Cup 2011 not happening in the sub-continent, which is a possibility! More importantly with the current political set up anyway, India and Pakistan (even Bangladesh, may be) teams may not play in each other’s land.

(4) Even if India and Pakistan play it down for the time being and are willing to negotiate, the Australian, England, New Zealand and even South African teams may not be traveling here… This ultimately can result in a split whereby the sub-continent teams can really form a rebel league and the others stay with ICC.

I only hope that common sense will prevail and people somehow delink politics and sports though it is easily said than done!

Off Topic: I personally feel that out of the four sub-continent teams, only Sri Lanka is really fighting the terrorism within where as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh politicians are playing with the sentiments of people.

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