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October 15, 2008

New age

Debate for the future 2: The English option

Kamran Abbasi
Pakistan fans didn't have much to cheer about though some managed a few smiles, Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd Test, Lahore, 3rd day, October 10, 2007
 © AFP
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I have never been a fan of neutral venues but the predicament of Pakistan cricket calls for pragmatism. Pakistan's cricketers require regular international competition. Another year of desolation, like 2008, may condemn Pakistan cricket to a slippery slope that cannot be climbed.

Hence, Pakistan must embrace neutral venues for countries unwilling to travel there.

The second question, however, is where to play. The dustbowls of the Gulf create a depressing, energy-sapping version of Test cricket that is no advancement on playing in Pakistan.

Why not turn adversity into opportunity?

Choose a venue that can produce compelling cricket, vibrant crowds, and an essential educational experience for Pakistan's cricketers. Choose a venue that offers cricket when other teams will be available to rearrange cancelled series, and will relish the experience. Choose a venue that could turn the PCB from villains to heroes.

I'm with Giles Clarke. Pakistan should choose the English option.

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

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Posted by KS on (October 21, 2008, 17:03 GMT)

More comments since I had run out of space, I agree that the spectators are a bigger worry,and that is reason enough under CURRENT circumstances to select a venue such as England, for now. THe PCB needs revenue, the players need to play, it is as simple as that. Being exposed to English conditions can be a valuable learning experience, and a chance to get away from dead Pakistani pitches. The games will attract a HUGE audience,the expats will fill up the stadiums,yes, people will come to see test matches!! Remember how Gaddafi stadium looked like the last time we had a TEST MATCH there? It is time to swallow our false pride, grow a set of ablls, and admit WE HAVE A PROBLEM. It is not just the Australians but the ENGLISH/SOUTH AFRICANS/NZ AND NOW THE WINDIES. It is not a matter of "white cricketers"!! It is OUR problem and WE need to fix it. NOT THEM!!

Posted by KS on (October 21, 2008, 16:48 GMT)

Dear Mr. Abbasi..At this stage, since beggars can't be choosers, we must understand the Australian's perspective, why should any team risk their safety to play cricket in Pakistan? I admit that as a Pakistani I am upset by Symonds' comments about the safety issues but is he really wrong? Where else in this entire cricketing world is this kind of violence being witnessed on a DAILY basis? Also, I am a big fan of Imran Khan, including his political views, but I found his explanation of why cricketers will never be targetted as feeble.According to Imran it would be publicly acceptable to destroy ordinary people who just opened their fast, but not cricketers as that would change public opinion. Is'nt this reasoning asinine? Play in England, win some matches and get your pride back! Also, it seems that in PCB the clowns keep running the circus, now it is Ijaz Butt. Why has he publicly talked about Lawson, seems like he, the CHAIRMAN/chamcha du jour now needs a lesson in professional ethics?

Posted by Nadeem Mohammed on (October 21, 2008, 12:41 GMT)

TO: Rauf

You mentioned "I don't mind Pak cricket isolation for few years as long as we fix the internal problems for good and show others that we can hold our own" - Pak cricket is isolation? is that your resolution?, and "hold our own"?, now that is quite amusing.

If you call playing abroad in Eng as not a viable option, then "holding our own" will NEVER happen and as a consequence Pakistani cricket will never flourish like it did with legends. The country is in turmoil and we need short-term solutions, whether we play cricket elsewhere or hold these trivial tournaments, then so be it. This is how Pakistani cricket will improve in terms of professionalism and more importantly with hunger and passion for the game, which sadly it lacks, both from the players and from the administration.

Pakistani Supporter (whatever the situation).

Posted by Shafiq on (October 21, 2008, 4:31 GMT)

I d prefer playing in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh as Regional (brother) countries of same nature (crowd, conditions, emotions) over playing in land of Old masters. Well few T20 or ODIs can be played in Old Trafford etc but not Tests.

Posted by CRICKETEXPERT on (October 20, 2008, 9:21 GMT)

I didn't say that Imran Khan isn't allowed to comment on the cricket in Pakistan. I said that theres no need for sad and pathetic people like you to cry about someone being head of PCB when the guy doesn't even want to do it anyway. Why don't you pick someone who is committed to doing the job?

Posted by what's-in-a-name on (October 20, 2008, 3:59 GMT)

Choose this and choose that, but you are fogetting something here my friend, and that is:

Beggers Can Not Be Choosers

Posted by Ali Dada on (October 20, 2008, 3:22 GMT)

Pakistani team represents Pakistan, not another country. What would we achieve by playing in another country?

All cricketing venues in Pakistan, including Peshawar are safe to play these days. Alhamdolillah there hasn't been any incident lately. Why do the countries assume it is unsafe to play in Pakistan? How is not unsafe to play in Kenya or in India or in Sri Lanka then? Last time I checked, there have been huge terrorist bombings in Kenya and there are similar problems in India and Sri Lanka.

If anything, we must not forget our pride. By playing in another country, we are essentially proving to the World that nobody needs to tour Pakistan for short or long term.

And forget cricket, how about other sports then? How about events and meetings in Pakistan? PCB will set the trend due to its coverage and popularity.

Honestly, we don't need to be a part of ICC. They can play their cricket in Dubai or XYZ place but Pakistan should leave ICC and start its own league.

Posted by Martyn on (October 18, 2008, 16:23 GMT)

To add to my point earlier (ran out of space, surprisingly) I think Pakistan is perfectly safe for cricketers to tour and that here is no security threat. There is NO WAY anything would be allowed to happen to them as they are so high profile. The targets, if there are any, would be supporters travelling from abroad who don't come with a secuity entourage. The safety of these people is the one that must be considered.

Posted by Martyn on (October 18, 2008, 16:18 GMT)

I think that England playing host to Pakistan's test matches is an excellent idea. Everyone wins! Firstly, the Pakistani players (and supporters) actually get some cricket. Secondly, Britain's large ex-pat community will ensure every ground is full capacity. Thirdly, we in England have too many grounds and not enough matches to fill them -the grounds could take the ticket revenue and the television rights could be sold to ensure that people in Pakistan see the matches, generating revenue but ensuring the game is widely seen. Fourthly, young Pakistan cricketers will develop in English conditions as the County Chamionship is on its doorstep - they could even take the place of the Kolpaks - and the discipline and professionalism in this form of the game will educate the players, preventing a repeat of the Asif incident. Tests could also give England a rest and ensure their schedule isn't overcrowded

The only downside? It would be an admission that Pakistan is not a safe place to tour.

Posted by Omer Admani on (October 17, 2008, 18:10 GMT)

Test matches are always interesting in England and Pakistanis will have good support. The test matches in the gulf will be dead amid incredible heat and no crowds. England seems to be the only logical place, revenue-wise, and quality-of-cricket wise.

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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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