Debate for the future 1: Big Brother lend a dime
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