December 9, 2008

England driven by greed - Latif

England’s decision to resume their tour of India despite the terror attacks in Mumbai was bound to evoke strong reactions from Pakistan and Rashid Latif, the former wicketkeeper, has spoken out against the decision. Latif said England were driven by greed, purely due to India’s financial clout in the cricket world.

"Anything can happen anywhere and when teams can accept security assurances from the BCCI and government, why can't they do the same when the PCB and the government urges them to tour?" Latif was quoted as saying in the Times. "The truth is no one can dare ignore the money India is putting into the game. It is nothing but greed. If India didn't have the financial clout no team would bother to go there so soon after the Mumbai attacks."

Latif was reacting after several teams in the recent past have refused to tour Pakistan due to security concerns. Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, said recently that a safe environment for cricket in India was crucial for the world game but Latif countered that by implying that Pakistan on that other hand has been at the receiving end of unfair treatment by cricket boards.

"All this talk about security concerns by Australia and other teams now stands exposed. I think Ponting should be honest enough to say that the cricket world needs India only because of its huge commercial market for the game," Latif said. "It has nothing to do with security. It is terrible the way the ICC and other boards are insisting on cricket resuming in India. What happened in Mumbai was terrible, but if teams can play in India why not in Pakistan?"

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo