Pakistan cricket September 29, 2008

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,
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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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Omar Mirza on September 30, 2008, 13:07 GMT

    I think Pakistan should spread their matches in different locations. They shouldnt have to be just the UAE. in 2002 they played a three test series with the first match in cColombo and the last two in Sharjah. Pakistan should actually now be very worried about hosting rights for the 2011 World Cup. I am sure the ICC will strip Pakistan of hosting rights sometime in 2009.

  • Raza on September 30, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    Under the current situation, i think its a better idea to host the international games at a neutral venue instead of NOT playing at all. Said that, now where should the games be held. UAE is always a good idea, but India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka should also be considered. I understand that most Pakistanis would feel that UAE is a better option, but think how many Pakistanis can afford going to the games from Pakistan. Now think about having those games played in India, a lot easier for most Pakistanis to go there and encourage their team. Thats my take. ICC and Asian bords should help Pakistan pay for the extra cost, and help support them in this bad time.

  • Andrew Henshaw on September 30, 2008, 12:55 GMT

    Rauf: Australia and England suspended cricket tours during World War 2 - Their were no tours in 1939/40/41/42/43/44/45 - please get your facts correct.

  • Jonny on September 30, 2008, 12:42 GMT

    There should be no need to put your life on the line for sport, period. Here in Australia, we do not have suicide bombers and the such. The worst we get is bad sunburn. You cannot blame us for being scared of being caught up in politically motivated bombings. We do not condone violence for any cause, religious or otherwise. So as peace loving people, we will never send our sportsmen and women to a place where fighting and violence is seen as the only way to get ones point across. Bring on Dubai!!

  • T Ali on September 30, 2008, 11:58 GMT

    Just a reply to Johan Venter..

    How many players would have been in that hotel? The answer is none. Because Rawalpindi was shelved as a venue long before the Champions Trophy was due to start.

  • Makhdoom on September 30, 2008, 9:29 GMT

    I will like to add weight of my argument to the Rauf statement, not completely though, just on the issue of suspending international cricket in Pakistan for some time. As the situation in Pakistan is genuinely not suitable for the Western Nations to visit the country and even we Pakistanis should accept this reality and should not hide the truth behind the curtains of patriotism. Everyday there are rumors of bombs being found on airports, railway stations, and even hotels are threatened with bomb blasts, so instead of blaming other Nations, we should ourselves promote idea of suspending International cricket at home, because playing at Neutral venues will help no one. Instead we should focus more on our domestic cricket and believe me we would even forget the name of international cricket if correct measures are taken in order to promote franchise based cricket leagues. Actually a spectator wants exciting moments of game not the BIG names.

  • KKAY - Pakistan on September 30, 2008, 8:15 GMT

    Well in the present situation it is the most suitable thing to do by looking at alternate home venues instead of insisting countries to tour Pakistan. UAE is a perfect platform for Pakistan cricket with International stadiums at Sharjah & Abu Dhabi with a new one Dubai on the way.

  • Johan Venter on September 30, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    All of this talk about the 'Western' sides being too scared to go to Pakistan for no reason was dealt a heavy blow with the recent bombing of the hotel in Pakistan. How many players would have been in that hotel had the ICC trophy actually taken place?

    I think Pakistan has little choice but to move their home matches to a neutral venue if they want to remain a force in the cricketing world. It's just common sense...

  • Looch on September 30, 2008, 3:48 GMT

    Interesting idea, but I cannot see a national board setting itself up in another country. Pakistan's situation is the major concern for international cricket right now and we need a solution now. To Rauf's rant, who would be happy if Pakistan only played domestic cricket, I feel compelled to answer the question "Did Aus and Eng relocate Ashes to neutral Swiss venue during WWII?". No they didn't relocate, Test cricket was suspended for 7 years which,judging by your post, is your solution now. So how long should Pakistan be out of international cricket?

  • Rauf on September 29, 2008, 15:16 GMT

    Thanks but no thanks. PCB must stay in Pakistan and wait it out until common sense prevails in the non-Asian boards or hypocrisy leaves them forever. Pak fans will back PCB 100% just like their stand on CT. Did Aus and Eng relocate Ashes to neutral Swiss venue during WWII? Country's Pride is bigger then few men running around in whites. If I am running PCB I will just withdraw from ICC. Why continue to be member of an organization whose other members don't treat you fairly. I say to heck with them... work on promoting domestic cricket. Maybe work with ICL to give it all some international flavour but to move just to get Ponting and co. to tour... ABSOLUTELY NOT.

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  • Rauf on September 29, 2008, 15:16 GMT

    Thanks but no thanks. PCB must stay in Pakistan and wait it out until common sense prevails in the non-Asian boards or hypocrisy leaves them forever. Pak fans will back PCB 100% just like their stand on CT. Did Aus and Eng relocate Ashes to neutral Swiss venue during WWII? Country's Pride is bigger then few men running around in whites. If I am running PCB I will just withdraw from ICC. Why continue to be member of an organization whose other members don't treat you fairly. I say to heck with them... work on promoting domestic cricket. Maybe work with ICL to give it all some international flavour but to move just to get Ponting and co. to tour... ABSOLUTELY NOT.

  • Looch on September 30, 2008, 3:48 GMT

    Interesting idea, but I cannot see a national board setting itself up in another country. Pakistan's situation is the major concern for international cricket right now and we need a solution now. To Rauf's rant, who would be happy if Pakistan only played domestic cricket, I feel compelled to answer the question "Did Aus and Eng relocate Ashes to neutral Swiss venue during WWII?". No they didn't relocate, Test cricket was suspended for 7 years which,judging by your post, is your solution now. So how long should Pakistan be out of international cricket?

  • Johan Venter on September 30, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    All of this talk about the 'Western' sides being too scared to go to Pakistan for no reason was dealt a heavy blow with the recent bombing of the hotel in Pakistan. How many players would have been in that hotel had the ICC trophy actually taken place?

    I think Pakistan has little choice but to move their home matches to a neutral venue if they want to remain a force in the cricketing world. It's just common sense...

  • KKAY - Pakistan on September 30, 2008, 8:15 GMT

    Well in the present situation it is the most suitable thing to do by looking at alternate home venues instead of insisting countries to tour Pakistan. UAE is a perfect platform for Pakistan cricket with International stadiums at Sharjah & Abu Dhabi with a new one Dubai on the way.

  • Makhdoom on September 30, 2008, 9:29 GMT

    I will like to add weight of my argument to the Rauf statement, not completely though, just on the issue of suspending international cricket in Pakistan for some time. As the situation in Pakistan is genuinely not suitable for the Western Nations to visit the country and even we Pakistanis should accept this reality and should not hide the truth behind the curtains of patriotism. Everyday there are rumors of bombs being found on airports, railway stations, and even hotels are threatened with bomb blasts, so instead of blaming other Nations, we should ourselves promote idea of suspending International cricket at home, because playing at Neutral venues will help no one. Instead we should focus more on our domestic cricket and believe me we would even forget the name of international cricket if correct measures are taken in order to promote franchise based cricket leagues. Actually a spectator wants exciting moments of game not the BIG names.

  • T Ali on September 30, 2008, 11:58 GMT

    Just a reply to Johan Venter..

    How many players would have been in that hotel? The answer is none. Because Rawalpindi was shelved as a venue long before the Champions Trophy was due to start.

  • Jonny on September 30, 2008, 12:42 GMT

    There should be no need to put your life on the line for sport, period. Here in Australia, we do not have suicide bombers and the such. The worst we get is bad sunburn. You cannot blame us for being scared of being caught up in politically motivated bombings. We do not condone violence for any cause, religious or otherwise. So as peace loving people, we will never send our sportsmen and women to a place where fighting and violence is seen as the only way to get ones point across. Bring on Dubai!!

  • Andrew Henshaw on September 30, 2008, 12:55 GMT

    Rauf: Australia and England suspended cricket tours during World War 2 - Their were no tours in 1939/40/41/42/43/44/45 - please get your facts correct.

  • Raza on September 30, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    Under the current situation, i think its a better idea to host the international games at a neutral venue instead of NOT playing at all. Said that, now where should the games be held. UAE is always a good idea, but India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka should also be considered. I understand that most Pakistanis would feel that UAE is a better option, but think how many Pakistanis can afford going to the games from Pakistan. Now think about having those games played in India, a lot easier for most Pakistanis to go there and encourage their team. Thats my take. ICC and Asian bords should help Pakistan pay for the extra cost, and help support them in this bad time.

  • Omar Mirza on September 30, 2008, 13:07 GMT

    I think Pakistan should spread their matches in different locations. They shouldnt have to be just the UAE. in 2002 they played a three test series with the first match in cColombo and the last two in Sharjah. Pakistan should actually now be very worried about hosting rights for the 2011 World Cup. I am sure the ICC will strip Pakistan of hosting rights sometime in 2009.