Politics March 11, 2008

A failure across the Boards

The fate of Australia's tour to Pakistan is sealed--or postponed as we are supposed to believe. I've already said my piece on why Australia should have toured Pakistan, and that argument still holds. Just ask Geoff Lawson, who has underlined the folly of the approach adopted by his fellow countrymen.

Ultimately, tours are the responsibility of the respective cricket boards. Cricket Australia has failed to ensure the viability of the international tours programme, which is an abdication of leadership from the world's strongest cricket country. As the general security situation in our world continues to deteriorate perhaps cricket will become extinct as countries refuse tours for unrelated risks? A truly global sport requires a stronger spine and broader vision.

The PCB is not blameless either. While Dr Ashraf and Co will state how powerless they are in the face of Cricket Australia's irrational decision, the decline of Pakistan cricket over this decade, both in performance and as spectacle, are contributory factors--although they never will be surfaced.

There is no value in a blindly patriotic defence of the PCB's position. Cricket is Pakistan's most important sport and public entertainment. Yet the PCB, through a combination of poor judgment and dubious ethics, has turned Pakistan cricket and the international team into something of a sideshow on the international stage. Some of this outcome is caused by distorted international perception but a major contributor is the chronic maladministration of cricket in Pakistan.

This is the latest in a long succession of wake-up calls for the PCB. Cricket in Pakistan needs urgent revival but it is not clear that the men in charge are fit to administer the shock therapy that is required.

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