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October 5, 2008

New age

Debate for the future 1: Big Brother lend a dime

Kamran Abbasi
Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the Pakistan board, talks to Sharad Pawar, President of the BCCI, during a meeting of the four countries that are hosting the 2011 World Cup in Bhurban, June 18, 2007
 © AFP
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Pak Spin has been quiet. I make no apology for the present melancholy that I feel for Pakistan cricket. Yes, there are bigger issues gripping Pakistan but our brief here is to discuss and debate cricket. There has never been a more threatening time for the game in Pakistan, and the Marriott bombing has changed the whole complexion of the crisis.

Over the next few weeks, I propose to cover the main issues that Pakistan cricket must grapple with, allowing Pakistan cricket lovers to suggest their solutions to the critical problems that Pakistan's politicians, administrators, and cricketers are facing. We may not win the hearts and minds of suicide bombers or international cricketers. We may not change the future of Pakistan cricket. But we will be heard, as Cricinfo offers the most visible forum in the world of cricket.

The first issue will perturb some Pakistan fans but it is inescapable: The future of Pakistan cricket lies in the hands of India.

A couple of weeks ago, shortly after the Marriott bombing, the PCB announced that India would be touring Pakistan. There was no need for this announcement and it was a needless public relations exercise. But it built upon the support that India has extended to Pakistan in recent times.

Clearly, power politics are at play. India may be the dominant financial force in international cricket but it still requires the support of its friends in ICC meetings.

Nonetheless, India has helped Pakistan through various crises since the Darrell Hair incident, with the most recent being its resistance to the Champions Trophy being moved from Pakistan. This was shortly after India helped ensure that the Asia Cup was held in Pakistan.

The rest of the cricketing world dances to India's tune. Everything involving India has become bigger, better, and more important than anything that preceded it. All Pakistan can do is hang on to its neighbour's kurta, as India's tours to Pakistan will be by far the biggest spectacle that Pakistan cricket can expect to host for some time to come.

India, then, is Pakistan's lifeline to regaining a full international itinerary. But it is important for India to nurture Pakistan too. The thrill of India, Australia, England, Sri Lanka, and South Africa playing each other will eventually be diminished by familiarity. The irony of cricket's attempt at globalisation is that the cricket world has shrunk. West Indies, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, and Kenya have taken huge strides backwards. It is an indictment of an international sport if the major nations can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Hence, the pull of India's rivalry with Pakistan may have weakened but it will become compelling again, provided that Pakistan cricket can find a method of regrouping and reviving its strength in these days of darkness.

More of that in the coming weeks, but for now Pakistan cricket is lucky to have India on its side.

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

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Posted by Shahid on (October 26, 2008, 6:50 GMT)

We all know the problem. The solution however is that we take the biggest broom we can find, and sweep all these incompetent idiots out of position of authority. Then we go on a search for a few good people (those whose egos do not run their lives), and entrust them with a responsibility to produce results and make them accountable. Truly educated, and I don't mean just academically either are the key to making a lasting change, be it cricket or politics or anywhere else for that matter. I say this because today I see rampant incompetence everywhere.

We must address the root cause of our problems. All these other things are just band-aid solutions.

Posted by syed haider on (October 16, 2008, 20:02 GMT)

come on give us all a break u r saying we must arrange a neutral vennue for our team to play test matches because we cannot lure non asian teams to play over here in pakistan because they think Pakistan is not safe .my argument is if we can play in england even when there were blasts going on in london and aussies can play in india despite blasts in delhi so obviously there is something wrong with our administration that they cannot lure big banners to our country to play cricket.And even i doubt how they are going to hold ppl because i dont think that under the so called dynamic leadership of ijaz butt and zardari sahib we can do any thing in our country for the next 5 years

Posted by Amjad Ali Afridi on (October 15, 2008, 10:19 GMT)

i cannot see my country being drag to a position where we r considered orphans or call em bullies. ahh isn't it sad to read from top officials of PCB that they were unable to get visa for MOHAMMAD YOUSAF (player of his calibr not touring and the lame excuse of not getting visa.give me a break)...why the hell r they still the officials then? why r still they part of the administration if they cannot get it right for us? do we need to have them ? and for what?

second - i have tried to post it somewhere else as well : why dont we, the die hard pakistani, go all out against the PCB and drag them to courts? i dont think we r doing justice just by posting comments here and letting other read 'em just for what?

i demand that we go all-out against the PCB or stop talking for nothing , because it really really hurts to read every now and then about my country and not a single person trying to get it right.

stop it for heaven's sake. you guys r spoiling my country's image even more

Posted by Faridoon on (October 15, 2008, 7:03 GMT)

For all the people who commented on comparing Paksitan to Kenya and West Indies, I don't think Kamran meant to compare the cricketing talent. The point was that all the countries mentioned including Pakistan are troubled due to political and adminsitrative inabilities.

@ Royy, you're right, the caption under the picture above is clear as mud!

Posted by SR on (October 15, 2008, 3:56 GMT)

cont'd- should be possible without much difficulty. Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh would have to form administrations similar to the ICL. The ACL should be structured in conjunctions of the respective boards (in case of Sri Lanka and Pakistan) or by forming independent privately owned organisations for cricket boards which are unwilling. The ACL would be the conglomerate of these smaller cricketing structures, and would take care of the cohesiveness and the expansion of the organisation to other countries such as Malaysia, U.A.E and Afghanistan. Understanding, that a unified subcontinent is the key to the future of the game. Cricketing board need to realize the colour, passion and brilliance of the people of the subcontinent and start focusing on the bigger picture.

***ALSO SENT TO 'CRICINFO INBOX'. PLEASE POST IF NOT POSTED BY INBOX. USE AS NECESSARY.

Posted by SR on (October 15, 2008, 3:51 GMT)

Go ACL!

It is clear that T20 is the future of cricket, with packed events even in far-off cricket starved cities like Toronto. The time has come for the organisation of an Asian Cricket League. The best way to guide this not-so-respected short form of the game into the future will be with the acceptance and agreement of all shareholding parties. A successful league would require various entities involved in the decision making, culture infusion and commercial sharing aspects of the organisation. The setup of the ACL should be taken up by the four major powerhouses (P4) of cricket in terms of commercial strength i.e. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In order for the P4 to successfully launch a business venture, a few basic requirements must be met. The major considerations would be cricketing talent, infrastructure (stadiums) and a source of income. Since the major requirements for such a league exist in the subcontinent a reasonably expedited start-up - cont'd

Posted by john on (October 12, 2008, 5:27 GMT)

"The future of Pakistan cricket lies in the hands of India". This shows utter bankruptcy of Pakistan cricket. The future of Pakistan depends no one else other Pakistan. Full Stop. I notice you screen some of the comments which are not of your liing or disagree with you. you have lost credibility among fans other than Pakistan.

Posted by Wally on (October 11, 2008, 22:50 GMT)

I dont get this article Kamran bhai. As anyone reading through this page will note that this topic is only generating silly little politcally charged comments. a few indian gentlemen were even kind enough to offer their advice on offering alcohol and women as an incentive for the international teams. if that truely is one of the reasons behind australian refusal to tour, then i will be the first one to say i am damn proud to be part of a nation that does not resort to such cheap tricks to attract players. I do not believe that Pakistan cricket needs some sort of a mentor in BCCI. Where we have managed for 60 odd years on paltry means, we are well and capable of doing so at this juncture as well. I am sorry to say Kamran bhai, but I was well and disappointed with this article.

Posted by waterbuffalo on (October 10, 2008, 5:50 GMT)

What no one has mentioned is that Australia and England are and have been allies of the US in the war in Iraq. The same cannot be said of the Windies, S. Africa and India and even New Zealand. The Global war on terror is the reason these countries are afraid to tour Pakistan, and for very good reason. If Barack Obama becomes President of the US, I believe the Muslim world will no longer look upon the US as an enemy, If McCain is elected, well, things will probably get worse , with a war in Iran, too. Stop blaming Pakistan for being an unsafe place and country, this is because the USA has made the world a more unsafe place, and the proof is there are no threats against the Windies or India or South Africa, because they did not send soldiers into Iraq. And because they are not allies of a belligerent and arrogant nation that believes in pre-emptive War, and makes up reasons to go to War. Any ally of the US will be seen as a collaborator, and that is a fact.

Posted by Ali Dada on (October 9, 2008, 13:53 GMT)

Pakistan should withdraw from ICC and create its own cricket league with friendly and equal nations.

Giving India or any other country the upper hand will lead to huge problems soon.

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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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