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February 14, 2008

Politics

A letter to Australians

Kamran Abbasi
Shaun Pollock inspects the security arrangements in place, Multan, October 25, 2007
 © AFP
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Dear Aussies,

We hear you swim with sharks yet you cannot walk the same earth as 160 million of your fellow men and women? Pakistan may be a country demonised by the world and dubbed a basket case by the world's media yet the ground reality is something very different.

Pakistan is a country struggling with its identity like many emerging countries--how to resolve Islam with the modern world?--but it is not a dangerous place, certainly not for international cricketers. Benazir Bhutto's death was a tragedy but a political assassination has no significance for Australians.

Many countries have toured Pakistan since your last refusal and all their players have returned home safely. Indeed, cricket is held in such esteem that it is equally loved by young women in designer shades and old men with unkempt beards. All the religious men I have ever met in Pakistan have loved cricket and relished the challenge of Australia.

Hence, your refusal seems strange to me, borne of a mental caricature of a country that bears no relationship with the "risks" that you will face. To me, this smacks of cultural imperialism, an unwillingness to properly understand and engage with the reality of a much poorer country.

Instead you wallow in the splendour of your rich world lifestyles. This whole approach is against the spirit of cricket, a game that has helped bridge social and political divisions and conflicts.

I fail to understand the risks you perceive you will be exposed to? As I have argued before, these risks are far smaller than driving a fast car, crossing the road, swimming with sharks or any of the extreme sports you are famous for indulging in. Cricketers have died or been seriously injured on the cricket field throughout the world while no cricketer has ever come to harm during Pakistan's "troubles".

Failing all that, if you do fear the bombers of Karachi more than the bombers of London, Colombo, or Mumbai then please stay at home but you should allow braver, hungrier, and more realistic cricketers to go in your place.

Surely the answer for Cricket Australia is to assemble a team of the willing and honour its commitment to international cricket? The alternative is an international game that becomes increasing divided by false fears into a game of the rich and poor. Cricket has always had greater significance than most sports, and your attitude does this great game a monumental disservice.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Keywords: Politics

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Lily SweetJane on (May 11, 2010, 5:50 GMT)

Undoubtfully nice article you have here. It'd be really cool to read a bit more about that theme. Thanks for posting this info.

Posted by Asif Sarfraz on (February 24, 2008, 12:03 GMT)

Indians not touring now! Australians not touring! This is great! I can't believe how dumb our country is (Pakistan)! Can't really the teams for not touring!

Posted by Omer Admani on (February 24, 2008, 1:59 GMT)

Philip, So suppose if I were Ricky Ponting and 'I' perceived my security wasn't guaranteed in SA, an arbitrary place, where most would visit, then should my judgement be deemed right? The point is that, if ACB deems the tour safe, if Indians are ready to come over to Pak as so are most other countries, and perhaps an A Australian team as well, why should some other Aussies be able to get away from it on the grounds of security as it clearly is their 'perception'. The point is not whether what the players percieve, but whether the ACB deems the tour saf or not. If other players can travel to 'prove a point' eventhough the visit would be unsafe then that tells me something is wrong with the ACB which is not holding its players' lives in good stead. However, when and if the ACB deems a tour safe, there shouldn't be room for such perception. Notice the bottomline is visiting is unsafe or safe. CA should decide whichever way but 'individual perceptions' shouldn't be the essence here.

Posted by rext on (February 23, 2008, 22:42 GMT)

Sorry Javed Khan, but when your middle stump's been knocked out of the ground you're out and that's all there is to it! Your answer to my question re Speed etc and Pakspin is...........? Your credibility's on the line or are you all hot air? It's hard to escape the conclusion that if all the village idiots started their own village you would still be the village idiot! You enjoy putting others less able to defend themselves down but can't handle it when someone knocks your middle stump out, can you? An eye for an eye makes everone blind, so why not use the intelligence you obviously have constructively and stop simply attacking and ridiculing Indians and Australians simply because their view of the World, Cultures and priorities are different to yours? The basic fact is that at the moment Pakistan is not considered safe Internationally and whether that's accurate or not the images we see on our TV screens repeatedly reinforce that message.

Posted by Philip John Joseph on (February 23, 2008, 17:35 GMT)

To HSH:

You raise a good point about the ICL versus the IPL. The behaviour of the BCCI has been an absolute disgrace. I support the free market and the "right" to behave like an immature fool as the BCCI properly demonstrates, but that doesn't change the fact that the BCCI is a disgusting and disreputable organization staffed by the dregs of India, like Sharad Pawar. Since the creation of the ICL and the treatment it has received at the hands of the BCCI, I am quite happy to see the BCCI XI, also known as the Indian national cricket team, get's it's rear end wiped on the floor by anyone, including the imperialist Aussies. The BCCI should be brought to it's knees for it's arrogance and incompetence. Death to the BCCI.

Posted by Jahangir on (February 23, 2008, 16:07 GMT)

To all those people that have raised caution in respect to the assassination of a political figure in Pakistan of late, in accordance with that reasoning countries like the USA are definitely off-limits to you, as it is has one of the greatest number of political assassinations in the world.

Posted by venkat on (February 23, 2008, 15:17 GMT)

to all pak fans i had to intervene only becos u kept comparin ur pak security situation with ours. the reality is quite different to b honest. its not that nothin wrong happens in india. it does but lot lesser. u talk about the loss of lives due to terrorism im sure it will b kashmir and the northeastern states which ud have bore the brunt and the other states basically negligible.fact remains that the majority muslims in kashmir wants to have their separate identity inspite of all the indian sops and so pakistan has always been succesful in helpin those who want a muslim rule in kashmir.also it is a proxy war becos pak army dont have to get involved.i think ur isi does lot of things which u dont know so talkin about them to u is futile. my point is most pakistan fans find solace in indias trouble to forget theirs. no terrorism in gujarat only communal violence and i bet if samething happened in pak it ud have been hidden.shia killings anybody?

Posted by madhuri Sarkar on (February 23, 2008, 13:13 GMT)

Australia team always proved to be the most opportunistic and they always proved to be at the top by any means, the example of sedney test with India is the best example of it. So it should not be surprising if they refuse to visit Pakistan handing over the security reason,IPL happened and the timing of the players were right to make some good money,I think Ausssies should have atleast the sports ethics before providing such reasons,Now that there are the options of India playing three one day in March if Aussies cancle their trip, it should be clear to the kangaroos that if India can visit pak so can they.

Posted by Awas on (February 23, 2008, 10:42 GMT)

Rahul

It’s quite right we get foreign help if needed as we are not arrogant or self sufficient in everything. If I don’t know something, I would admit, put my hand up and say “sorry I don’t know it, can someone else help”. Perhaps India is self sufficient in everything and it doesn’t get anything at all from anywhere else in the world. So good infact that after a blast of any kind, a minister that rushes there for a photo shoot also finds the evidence right there and declares it has a Pakistani hand. You don’t need any investigators; you all are ‘know it all’.

You said “Please read articles and understand them before commenting”. I did actually read that particular article and understood it as well. I didn’t “comment” on it, you did. I just posted the link with that headline. It doesn’t change the fact that India is second best after Iraq ;)-

Democracy “hardly exists” in Pakistan may well be true but in a country where a chief minister of a state can justify murder without any kind of retribution is nothing but a sham democracy.

Posted by Awas on (February 23, 2008, 10:41 GMT)

Venkat

Read some nice comments of your countrymen and learn from them istead of uttering nonsense. Firstly, according to you terrorism you have was “just an aberration” and when I showed you the mirror that it is second only to Iraq, you have twisted the whole thing into “terrorism in India exists only in Kashmir and north-eastern states”. Tell me where is your Parliament and Gujarat? You mention that “Pak used to wage a proxy war” but would it have happened if your government had not committed untold atrocities on those people? If it really is ISI then it’s a shame that the great Indian Army can’t even stop them entering. It’s amazing how you see Pakistan everywhere in India.

You are challenging me that there is still martial law in Pakistan. I don’t think you know what the term means really. Its looks like I am wasting my time on your intelligence which is non-existent.

AB

I appreciate your welcome comment. The three of us decided to return after all to counter quite unnecessary snide remarks being hurled at Pakistan by some imbeciles.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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