Pakistan news January 19, 2010

ICC hopeful of thawing of India-Pakistan relations


The ICC remains hopeful that bilateral contests between Pakistan and India can be resumed in the near future. Ties between the two governments have been rocky since the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008, which the Indian government blamed on elements based within Pakistan.

Soon after, an Indian tour to Pakistan was cancelled, bringing yet another halt to a brief period of cricketing detente; between 2003-04 and 2007-08, each country visited the other twice for full tours in addition to facing off in a number of ICC and offshore bilateral contests. Since the attacks, however, the two sides have only played one international match, a group game in the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy.

Subsequently the relationship between the two boards has become strained during the period of impasse. A nadir was reached in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Lahore on the Sri Lankan team, with many officials in the PCB believing the BCCI had somehow engineered the removal of Pakistan as a venue for the 2011 World Cup.

But David Morgan, the ICC president, believes he can broker a resolution between the two. "One of the things I am working on is trying to persuade the BCCI that they should play bilaterally as opposed to in ICC events with Pakistan," Morgan told Cricinfo. "India versus Pakistan, Pakistan versus India is the equivalent of the Ashes in Test match cricket parlance. It is very important for both countries that they renew their rivalries on the field in the five-day game. I am very hopeful they will."

A revival of the rivalry is crucial especially for the PCB, currently battling a financial crunch after the banishment of the country as an international venue. According to Ijaz Butt, chairman PCB, the board lost US$40 million as a result of India's cancellation last year; a fair portion of the US$140 million broadcast deal the board has with Ten Sports is believed to have been based on the series against India.

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Security concerns in Pakistan
  • September 2001- New Zealand decide not to tour Pakistan following the September 11 attacks. West Indies and Australia then decide to move their games in Pakistan scheduled for later in the year to neutral venues in Colombo and Sharjah.
  • May 2002 - New Zealand cancel their tour of Pakistan after a bomb blast outside Karachi's Sheraton Hotel where they were staying.
  • March 2008 - Australia postpone their tour of Pakistan slated for the end of March as a result of security concerns.The decision was taken in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto's assasination in December 2007.
  • August 2008 - Citing security concerns, five out of eight member nations of the ICC choose not to send their teams to Pakistan for the Champions Trophy scheduled for September the same year. As a result, the tournament is postponed until October 2009.
  • October 2008 - West Indies call off a proposed tour of Pakistan scheduled for November citing security concerns, a week after the West Indies Women had cancelled the Pakistan leg of their Asian tour.
  • December 2008 - The BCCI call off India's scheduled tour of Pakistan in 2009 following a directive from the government.
  • December 2008 - The PCB confirm that Sri Lanka will tour Pakistan after India decided not to after the Mumbai terror attack.
  • February 2009 - The ICC decide not to stage the 2009 Champions Trophy in Pakistan after some of the members expressed reservations about touring the country.
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The PCB has suffered losses of up to US$125 million over the last year or so, as a result of series and events being postponed, relocated or cancelled in light of the security situation in Pakistan. The ICC has set up a task force to work with the PCB and examine ways in which the financial impact of no international cricket can be lessened. One of the ideas emanating from their first and only meeting in December was to organize a series of fund-raising games between a World XI and Pakistan.

Morgan said he wasn't aware of the idea, but was awaiting a report from the task force of that meeting. "We'll be having a report from the task-force chairman Giles Clarke on the ninth of February when we meet in Dubai," Morgan said. "I am very pleased in the way the task force and the PCB interfaced really very well together."

At one stage last year the relationship between the PCB and the ICC also suffered; the PCB launched legal action against the world governing body following the decision not to stage matches of the 2011 World Cup in Pakistan, as was the original plan. But the dispute was resolved out of court and Morgan said that the situation had never got out of hand.

"There was an uneasiness, but never was it a difficult situation," Morgan said. "Mr Butt and I maintained good and decent relationships throughout. It was a very difficult time for them. At first there was a belief that they were being removed as hosts. That was never the case. The decision that the board took was that we couldn't actually stage any of the 14 matches in Pakistan but that the hosting rights were still Pakistan's.

"The ICC is determined that Pakistan should not be isolated. Pakistan is an extremely important cricketing nation, a very important part of the ICC. If you look back at the last two decades, Pakistan has produced some of the most stylish, some of the most achieving cricketers. It's important from world cricket's point of view that Pakistan is not isolated and that cricket continues to thrive there. It's obviously particularly difficult when cricketers cannot play on their home turf," Morgan said.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ShahidAfridiFan on January 21, 2010, 0:27 GMT

    Its fairly obvious the BCCI is using politics to keep pak players out of the ipl, sohail tanvir who single handedly won most of the matches for the rajastan royals in the 1st ipl season was not bid for with a base price of $200k, even by the team who he won the title for seems more than suspicious, then you have Umar Gul who is by far the best T20 bowler in the world and Afridi who is not only a match winner with bat or ball but a great icon and crowd puller, thats why the IPL used his photos in advertising the ipl. You also have imran nazir who is also a greatcrowd puller who played brilliantly in the ICL and brought in a full house every time in India.

    the Lahore badshas although were made up entirely of pakistani cricketers was still the most popular icl team in india, its a shame the 'think tanks' of BCCI dont see it that way

  • Venkat_Super_11 on January 20, 2010, 16:52 GMT

    Some readers suggest that Pakistan should avoid playing India in future to avenge IPL's refusal to buy any Pakistani players. This can only make me laugh as IPL franchises and BCCI have got loads of money and more over, better players than Pakistani players. And it will be PCB that will be the loser both in terms of revenue and quality of game if they choose not to play India in future. Given an option between Pakistan and India, the world cricketing bodies will surely go happily only to India and do everything to avoid playing in Pakistan. Best thing for Pakistani cricket fans to leave Pakistan and migrate to India to enjoy a quality cricket and above all, a safe cricket and safer life.

  • wiiCricket on January 20, 2010, 15:28 GMT

    Just got an inside news that PCB is being run by Lalit Modi and Co. What is more surprising is that Ijaz Butt has decided to do exactly what BCCI is telling him to do and that is "spoil" the cricketing talent and make sure that Pakistan doesn't perform in world cup. Because the only team that can win WC in India is either India or Pakistan and if there is a Pak vs India in India then India is sure to loose and BCCI doesn't want that so they are deciding to keep Pak Team as much weak as possible. This is my conspiracy theory.

  • gally_cricket on January 20, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    What I fail to understand is that pak cricketers were called on interest shown by the IPLteams, secondly what was really disturbing was not that they were not picked, but not even bid for, clearly showing pressure on IPL teams, and joke of the day"- IPL team bosses by not bidding for the world's best later talking about strategy - and for the bosses who said "we were not sure of their availabilitÿ", well everyone knows their availability dates and physical fitness are measured before they enter the auction list, and pssp - paki's are the only team fully availabe to play the entire IPL season as there's no cricket for them in march and april.

  • nomikshah on January 20, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    Get the facts straight first: The records show that Pakistan has outclassed India in all forms of the game.

    BCCI is using its financial clout to the fullest and it has given a hoot to ICC norms and regulations. Personally I love the fact that they have single handed destroyed the fabric of the game and blatantly used it to their advantage at expense of everyone else; ICC, Australia, SA, Pakistan; B'desh and SL are just happy they are getting part of the booty which is going BCCI's ways. ICC can only sit back and watch as BCCI dictates, bends and overrides the rules, there is nothing it can do. Some examples: Gavaskar (member of some ICC committee) openly accusing Broads' and ICC of bias and ICC dare not apply any code of conduct on him India threatens of a walkout in Aus over racist remarks that they uttered and Ponting and ICC have to hang their heads in shame and capitulate Same in SA over Tandu India got rid of Harper and then got him back in according to its wishes

  • BoonBoom on January 20, 2010, 7:36 GMT

    The way Pakistan cricketers were treated in IPL auction, I dont think it is wise, appropriate and in the true interest of Pak cricketers to start India-Pakistan cricket.

    Indian does not miss any opportunity to snub Pakistan. They engineered removal of Pakistan as host from WC 2011, did not allow Pak to host their matches in Dubia, did not allow Pak team in Champions League, kept Pak away from IPL2 and now IPL3, did their best to keep SL away from touring Pak... and the list is just endless.

    Why the hell should Pak play cricket with India? Please give me just one valid reason.

  • paulantony on January 20, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    After having snubbed the pak players for the IPL there is bound be a renewed rivalry, wish India-pak face off now... will be a superb match.,

  • dandavidd on January 20, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    I agree that India vs Pakistan matches are the best in the context of the game and also to crowds excitement...It's always good to have Ind-pak matches but at this point don't really appreciate ICC's views on reviving the rivalries between the two cricketing nations because nothing else is more important than lives and safety of their players..The significanr of Ind-Pak matches can never be more important than the personal lives and safety of the players..Just because there has been no recent terror attacks in pakistan, ICC can't really just put forward a propaganda of collaboration Ind-Pak ties again..!!

  • oc_cricket on January 20, 2010, 3:27 GMT

    Because of the current crazy political environment, it is an absolute rubbish idea to restart relationship because it will jeopardize safety of a cricketer or a cricket fan.

  • zeus_kris on January 20, 2010, 3:11 GMT

    Mr. Osman,

    When you listed the "Security concerns in Pakistan" in the right hand column, you conveniently left out the detail that recently when Sri Lankan team visited Pakistan, their team bus was attacked by Terrorists, and they were fortunate to escape alive with gun shot wounds. Why don't you present the facts in the full? Don't mislead people to empathize without providing full facts.

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