clean bowled

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 22 Nov 2018 14:22:50

IT SEEMS Pakistan has an inherent habit of ignoring plain logic that risks great hubris. This refusal to learn from silly mistakes has often brought big embarrassment to their administrators, be it on political platforms or sports management. The latest disgrace has come for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in a compensation claim against India that was built on a faulty premise and deserved solid rap from the International Cricket Council (ICC). By dismissing the Rs. 447 crore compensation from the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) for allegedly not honouring the Memorandum of Understanding on playing bilateral series according to the Future Tours Programme, the world cricket body has rightly cut Pakistan to size.

Pakistan’s claim was frivolous, to say the least, for, the MoU between BCCI and PCB was based on a proposed revenue sharing model among ICC members that did not fall through. Genesis of this claim lies in a heavily imbalanced revenue sharing model that was to give the Big Three (India, Australia and England) 70 per cent money coming from sponsors and television rights and rest was to be shared between the other seven ICC members. The model, designed by then BCCI and ICC chief Mr. N. Srinivasan, had faced initial protests from Pakistan. However, a carrot of India-Pak bilateral series and the whopping revenue promised by broadcasters made PCB fall in line and accept the Big Three model. Subsequently, Mr. Shashank Manohar took over as ICC Chairman and prudently demolished the model to ensure level playing field and monies for all ICC members.

PCB’s insistence on the compensation from BCCI after the collapse of the Big Three model was downright foolish. It was destined to fail the legal test and the ICC did the right thing to end the dispute once and for all by forming a dispute panel. BCCI now stands to recover a legal cost from the Pakistan board that will bring further embarrassment for their authorities. Not that they were not aware of the possible outcome but PCB’s long-standing grudge against India’s position of dominance in world cricket affairs forced it to eat another humble pie.

Pakistan’s cricket authorities as well as political class are well aware of the problems in revival of Indo-Pak bilateral ties. Yet, they make it a needless issue every now and then. India has clearly spelt its stand that restarting cricketing ties with Pakistan will depend upon Government clearance. Sporting ties can be revived only if there is a conducive political atmosphere. And Pakistan has done precious little to create such a situation. In fact, Islamabad has only escalated tensions between two countries with unprovoked attacks on Indian border posts, blatant violation of cease-fire, crass treatment to Indian soldiers and consistent support to militancy emanating from Pakistan soil. Such an atmosphere of distrust would never allow any government to permit its sporting teams to engage in bilateral tourneys.

Things were looking bright once Mr. Imran Khan took over as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan. Being a cricketing legend himself the onus was on him to prepare grounds for peace talks and use cricketing diplomacy to ease tensions between the two nations. All that initial euphoria has died its natural death and now it is back to square one. Mr. Khan is quickly toeing the Army line as per the Rawalpindi Headquarters’ India policy with little or no chance of opening up of dialogue between the two countries and subsequent resumption of sporting ties.

Fans of India, Pakistan may rue the opportunity of watching the riveting rivalry but that is a secondary part as far as national interests are concerned. BCCI’s stand on India-Pak bilateral cricket series is in consonance with the national policy and it has to be respected by everyone. Snubbing Pakistan at every fora is the best possible response to a hostile neighbour.