Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Nov 2017 11:56:33

FORMER Pakistan cricket Captain Wasim Akram’s ire at the International Cricket Council (ICC) for its failure to persuade India to play bilateral series against Pakistan is totally misplaced and lacks understanding of prevailing hostile situation between the two nations, of course wholly the creation of his own country’s policy makers. ICC understands quite well that under the prevailing circumstances playing bilateral series between India and Pakistan would not be possible as the sentiment in India against Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism to destabilise India is one of annoyance and people are deadly against resumption of bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan. Hence it is futile to expect that the Indian Government will allow resumption of cricket ties with Pakistan at this juncture. 

Wasim Akram is right in that, any India-Pakistan cricket series is always more exciting than the much touted Ashes rivalry between traditional cricket rivals England and Australia. Because over a billion people from the sub-continent lap up cricket matches between the two neighbours with much excitement, enthusiasm and even nationalistic fervour. It is indeed a different encounter altogether when it comes to cricket matches between India and Pakistan. Even other sports encounters at multilateral international events like hockey draw similar sentiment across the sub-continent.

While there is no bar on playing multilateral cricket events sponsored by the ICC, there is hardly any likelihood of India-Pakistan bilateral cricket series resuming any time soon. Wasim Akram has said that politics should not be allowed to cast a shadow on sports ties. That is true only when conditions are normal and there is no hostility between the two parties. Akram needs to question his own country’s political leadership and the Army top brass as to who has played the spoil-sport. When a proxy war is imposed on a nation for decades, causing huge human and material loss, disturbing social and economic life, any other country would snap all relations with the perpetrator of the crime against the nation.

When Pakistan has adopted the policy of causing a thousand cuts to India through sponsorship of terrorism, how can India allow its sportsmen to travel to that country where hostility is all pervasive. Akram’s desire that people-to people contact should be resumed and sports should be separated from politics does not gel well with the conditions that prevail in Pakistan and Pakistan’s attitude towards India. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Government of India are honouring the sentiments of countrymen by not resuming cricket ties with a country that has nothing but animosity to offer.