UAE, Vanuatu or subcontinent?
From Antony Chettupuzha, India
In a recent post, TJ recommends that the PCB temporarily (I've take the liberty of assuming he meant this) relocate to the United Arab Emirates, until security conditions in Pakistan are acceptable for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England (and some might add the West Indies too) to tour. This he contends will allow Pakistan to continue playing cricket matches while allowing their opponents not to fear losing their lives in the process. I found this very interesting for a number of reasons.
First the choice of the UAE is interesting, I've heard reports of the PCB trying to come up with a deal with the UAE for a 3 year period. But you wonder why these matches can't be shifted to India (or even Bangladesh) where there is good infrastructure and no dearth of available stadiums and interest to draw large crowds. Maybe some people like to associate Pakistan with that region and so it seems fitting that it should be the neutral venue for the "home tests", but I see no reason why these matches should not be hosted in stadiums that have hosted Test cricket in the past.
Second, are the costs incurred by the PCB for shifting these matches outside the country passed on to their reluctant guests? These countries do after all have an obligation to play a certain number of matches with Pakistan, and if they decide not to despite getting official clearance from the global governing body, shouldn't they foot the bill for forcing the event to be hosted elsewhere, just as they should if they outright cancel?
But the point I am most interested in is best summarized in a hypothetical scenario; Let us assume New Zealand has suddenly acquired a reputation for attacks on people of Asian origin. The four subcontinental teams decide not to tour New Zealand, landing a crippling blow on New Zealand cricket's income. Imagine if Vanuatu, which is experiencing a financial boom and has an operational stadium with one more on the way, now has an associate level cricket team. How many of you honestly think Cricket New Zealand would consider relocating to Vanuatu until conditions in New Zealand improve, or that such a suggestion would even be entertained? I also guess what I mean to ask is, would NZC go that far to "host" these few nations? Perhaps they would if they were fighting for the survival of the game in their country. Perhaps they wouldn't if the Asian boards had to pay compensation for every canceled series. I don't know.
The question remains that if a country is unable to host cricket matches, should it seek a temporary suspension until an environment of normalcy returns? Some might argue that this would kill the game in that country forever, so perhaps we can only sit back and admire the fact that despite these extremely trying times, the passion that Pakistanis have for the game is forcing them to seek an alternative "home" venue. Again some might argue that the PCB is forced to turn to this option due to financial obligations. But no matter who you are the one point that is indisputable is that the situation becomes infinitely more complex when it is not all, but only some countries that cannot tour.