chance for pak

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 28 Aug 2017 12:09:26

THE three-match cricket tour by World XI team, led by South African skipper Faff du Plesiss, provides Pakistan a chance to get back to international sports calendar and not host its matches on alien soil. Pakistan has been hosting its scheduled cricket series against visiting teams in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ever since the deadly terrorist attack on the bus carrying visiting Sri Lankan cricket team a few years ago.

Since then almost all international sporting activities have come to a halt in Pakistan, with sports fans and sports bodies desperately trying to get international players and teams to visit Pakistan. But the security environment in Pakistan has proved as a big deterrent for resumption of international sports activity. In view of this the Pakistani Punjab Government has assured airtight security for the visiting World XI team. 

That of course may be possible to ensure in a very restricted area of the event. But the spectre of terrorism would still be hanging low as the hardline religious fanatics, with their own interpretation of the religious codes, have been coming down heavily on anything that has to do with sports, culture, arts, education etc.

Hence it would be a litmus test for the Pakistan Government to ensure the passage of the event without an incident. Otherwise that could permanently damage the prospects of international sports returning to the beleaguered country. Besides, it would be courageous to undertake the tour of Pakistan at this juncture when hardline militants have laid virtual siege of the country and normalcy of life has become an alien word.

It is precisely for this reason and of course Pakistan’s endless hostility towards India that the Indian Government has not permitted the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to allow the Indian team to tour Pakistan. Given the continuing hostilities from Pakistan side it is unlikely that the Indian Government would allow the Indian cricket team to undertake tour of Pakistan any time soon. This in spite of the threat by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to seek damages worth millions of rupees from the BCCI for not honouring scheduled commitments of touring that country. Besides, public opinion in India does not favour any sporting links with Pakistan as of now under the prevailing circumstances.

That is precisely why there is no Indian player in the proposed World XI team despite the fact that India is the top team in the world at present. Even teams from England, Australia are in no mood to resume tours to Pakistan, though they keep on playing bilateral series at alien venues. In a country where terror groups have a free run, it is unlikely to attract any friendly visits by foreign sports groups. That is the reality of Pakistan.