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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2491

Finally, India refuses to tour

By Ramu Sharma – Syndicate Features

Though it was foregone conclusion, the actual decision by the Government not to allow the Indian Cricket Tour of Pakistan is a big blow. It is not for the first time that politics has played spoilsport in India-Pakistan cricket. Earlier it was Pakistan which did not want to play India and now when the two countries had established good relations in the game, it is India which has taken the decision not to play Pakistan.

Tour of Pakistan was always on the doubtful category after the Mumbai terror but one had hoped that time would play the healer. That has not happened. In fact, given the media hype in both the countries, there was every danger of corrupting public mind. The general tone of the Indian public is far from friendly to Pakistan, and what can be discerned from the media in Pakistan, the public there too is in no friendly mood towards India. Whatever the disappointment among the cricketers of the two countries there was every possibility of an adverse reaction from a section of the public in the event of India making the tour. Pakistan would deny it, of course, but the reaction among the Pakistan public, as relayed by the media, cannot be ignored.

The government’s refusal was, of course, expected and also understandable. It would have faced a major revolt in India had the tour been given a green signal. These are not the best of days for the parties in power in India. But whatever be the reason for disallowing the tour, it is very bad for the game and the people who had worked hard for it to succeed. It is a pity that while all efforts the resolve the differences have come to naught, every effort is being made by the two countries to widen the gulf. Strange but true.

What happens next? With so many countries refusing to tour, Pakistan has virtually become untouchable. It is very sporting of Sri Lanka to offer to step in to fill the breach. But it is not the same thing as India, and, certainly, not in financial terms.

Here one is tempted to compare the attitude of both Pakistan and Sri Lanka towards the Indian Cricket League, the rival to IPL in India. People in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka have advised the BCCI to drop its antagonistic attitude to ICL and come to some sort of settlement. But the Board is adamant. Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka have players involved in the ICL and would like it gain an official status. And frankly that would be a wise thing to do.

It will require real statesmanship from BCCI to come to terms with ICL. Such a step would go a long way of creating a suitable atmosphere and the game too will get a boost. After all the people involved in ICL, which incidentally had a head start on IPL, are those who have served Indian cricket well. No harm in bringing the family together again!

- Asian Tribune -

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