September 29, 2008

Pakistan cricket

UAE, Vanuatu or subcontinent?

Cricinfo

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.

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Posted by George Macpherson on (October 16, 2008, 12:52 GMT)

I think that the UAE will be able to still be in the professional cricket leagues longer Vanuatu as the samll archipelago will probiably will last 2 years as the UAE will last about 50 yaers 25 times longer than the small archipelago of Vanuatu. but of course if Vanuatu gets help from New Zealand and Australia they will get to the professoanl leagues and play the likes of The UAE, Irland, Scotland, Kenya, Namibia, Bermuda, The Netherlands e.c.t. in no time.

Posted by J.H. on (October 1, 2008, 6:42 GMT)

It is truly a shame that Pakistan is gripped in this time of violence. I have read many people's views and on the whole, most have contructive ideas. I cannot, however, understand those whom still want a cricket team to blame for the lack of cricket in your country. Safety is paramount in all cases. If the CT had gone ahead and Rawalpindi was included as it orginally was, then I, yes me, would have been in that hotel. I know this for a fact as I was to work at the CT. So I am very happy. As for alternate venues, bring them on. I have worked on many matches at Sharjah, and I can tell you, it is a great Pakistan atmosphere. Sadly, that venue has sat idle for 5 years. Lets bring some international cricket back there, Abu Dhabi (another idle ground), and wherever else there are 'home side' conditions and a very willing Pakistan expat public to cheer on the games.

Posted by dr swaami on (October 1, 2008, 6:12 GMT)

The Akthar/Asif story was a disgrace. Both players were found guilty, both were suspended and then had their penalties overturned by the PCB, an absolute insult to the cricketing community. Shane Warne was caught using a diuretic and was banned for a year, although he probably should have been banned for longer. Although we are yet to figure out what Marshall and Willett were caught taking, they will face serious sanctions from their board that already has enough on its plate.

Drugs has rarely reared its ugly head in sport, but to stamp it out, boards and, specifically the spineless ICC, need to show initiative and either ban players for life or send them packing for a long time. It is the only way to make sure it does not harm the reputation of the game.

Posted by rext on (September 30, 2008, 22:42 GMT)

Due to their disappontment it seems many Pakistan cricket fans are casting Australia as the cause of their incessant problems, when in fact Australia's refusal to tour Pakistan is a response to Pakistan's problems! The problems are solely within Pakistan's cricket structure and the Country's security situation. Australia caused neither and the parlous state of cricket in Pakistan is your problem to solve not ours! The cricket world laments the slow demise of your cricket over some ten years due to countless on field controversies, drugs, internal dissention, political interference and now security issues. I would suggest the attention of Pakistani fans be directed to the root causes of your problems instead of scapegoating Australia as an outlet for your frustrations. Cricket is not a religion and cricketers are not soldiers of it's God. They are human beings with responibilities far greater than to provide Pakistani fans with entertainment regardless of personal risk.

Posted by Asim on (September 30, 2008, 17:28 GMT)

All the talk about Pakistan pulling out of the international circuit is nonesense. If Pakistan were to play domestic cricket for some time they would waste the talents of the current international cricketers that they have now. The Uae move comes out of frustration, but it is the only scenario in which Pakistan cricket could benefit. The PCB makes money, Pakistan fans get to watch cricket, and the cricket side doesnt sit idle... The PCB should use the UAE strictly as an alternative, if the ICC deems it unsafe then they should be given an option of going to the UAE. Even if they end up playing in the UAE, they will have a lot of pakitani supporters in the stands, they will still have that feeling of a home crowd. Make the best of it if you can, and hope other teams tour Pakistan in the future

Posted by CricObsever on (September 30, 2008, 15:51 GMT)

I was always under the impression that if a team did not tour another country that touring team would incur some sort of penalty. Whether that be financial or Points deduction or both. I believe it is about time non asian teams such as Australia fulfil their duties and tour Pakistan. They have not toured Pakistan in over 10 years.

I believe it is about time the ICC should charge Australia with finanical penalties i.e compensate the PCB for loss of earnings to the fullest extent. They should also suffer a 3-0 Test defeat. That will even the gap between Australia and the rest of the world. The non asian teams should not have any impunity and it is about time that the ICC shows some assertive leadership and serve repercussions to teams that decide not to tour a certain country.

I guarantee that the ECB would be looking to do the same thing if Sri Lanka decide not to go to England next Spring. (Search for CricObserver on Youtube all comments are welcome)

Posted by DesiHungama on (September 30, 2008, 15:37 GMT)

Right the cricket matches were suspended for 7 long years during the WWII. But the matches were suspended for all the participating cricketing nations of that time not a selective one. Why should Pakistan alone suspend its cricket activities. I say they should if not break away atleast explore other options such as promoting domestic cricket and adding different formats to the game. Why not invite ICL teams to visit. After all Pakistan introduced 20/20 for the first time in mid 90's during fasting month of Ramadan when some players decided to have a go at night with only 20 overs.

Posted by AI on (September 30, 2008, 15:19 GMT)

I am a Pakistani currently living in US. As for a safe environment in Pakistan for cricket. I think players and teams have a right not to tour a country where they don't feel safe. My family still lives in Pakistan and even they do not feel safe with the current law and order situtation. So as one of you said we should not make a judgement on other teams just because we Pakistanis want cricket. It is good to be patriotic but the fact of the matter is that the people who do these kind of stuff do not care for any one's life, whether it be an ordinary person or a cricketer.

Posted by Danish on (September 30, 2008, 14:17 GMT)

I would like to respond to Mr.Raza's comment. I personally think India is not a good option for Pakistan. A very simple reason is that, Pakistan will not get the kind of support from the spectators as they would get in UAE. UAE, as we all know, has a large expat Pakistani population which will support their team. Furthermore, can Pakistani spectators really travle to India easily which Mr. Raza is suggesting? I think not! It is very difficult for Pakistanis to get Indian visas. And even if visas were easier to get the only people who would benefit from it would be the people living near Islamabad since the only Indian visa office is located there.

Posted by jilani on (September 30, 2008, 14:15 GMT)

I can understand people getting concerned about their lives even if baseless. I am a Pakistanin in US and I think twice now before visiting Pakistan. I think that logistics and duration is a key factor.

My suggestion will be to have short events in Pakistan i.e. 1 test, 2 one day type stuff that is over in less than 2.0 weeks.

Create a "safe zone" for cricket in Lahore or Faisalabad which have been really incident free cities on and around the stadium with a secure transportation back and forth from the hotels (preferably adjacent).

If Pakistan hosts many of these short burst type events which may be played almost as a warm up to a longer/major series with India or (choke!) Bangaldesh, confidence can be restored and the foreign players will not feel like prisoners for long durations. Maybe a day or two of excursion in the process at euro beach in karachi with some alcohol etc will do no harm. We need to think commercially to a business problem, not patriotically

Thanks

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