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December 23, 2008

Politics

Lorgat's faux pas is a demonstration of weakness

Kamran Abbasi
Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, at a press conference, Dubai, July 20
 © AFP
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India's unfortunate decision to cancel their tour of Pakistan is a serious blow to cricket in South Asia. The decision is a political one, and one I believe to be incorrect. Perpetrators of atrocities will be encouraged by the political divisions they create. Disharmony and conflict sustain them.

Cricketers and cricket fans have often shown that the regional instinct for friendship is greater than the desire to destroy each other. The only glimmer of hope is that the Indian government sees the wisdom in friendship but has judged the mood of its people will not tolerate a sporting encounter with Pakistan just yet.

As appalling as India's decision is to Pakistan fans, Sri Lanka's quick acceptance is a boost. The state of Pakistan cricket is such that it must seek willing opposition at home, abroad, and on neutral venues. International cricket must become the rule again and not the exception.

All of which makes Haroon Lorgat's reference to a security inspection on behalf of ICC officials even more surprising. ICC's role, with reference to Pakistan, has to be to allow willing nations to tour. The world of international cricket is already too small to bear the loss of emerging nations like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, and established ones like Pakistan.

The security survey for officials would also have been an unprecedented move by ICC, adding strength to the argument that the international cricket community is displaying double standards in its treatment of Pakistan. Little wonder, then, that the ICC media machine rapidly issued clarifications of Lorgat's comment, which reads perfectly clearly in its original form.

Pakistan cricket is in a mess but so is ICC, because a shrinking cricket world means that it is hostage to the whims of one or two powerful members. The myopic view is to bend to that power, which is a dangerous mistake. But the ICC has yet to demonstrate that it has a viable long-term strategy to allow international cricket to flourish or the courage to stand up to its most dominant members.

ICC's main hope as an organisation is to grow its membership. Instead, it is an organisation stricken by its failure to ensure that its least powerful or least desirable constituents are not marginalised.

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

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Keywords: Politics

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Posted by SJD on (March 3, 2009, 5:42 GMT)

Mr Abbasi, I assume that in light of today's terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team that you will no longer have the temerity to assert that the repeated refusal of cricket teams to tour your country is motivated by political, racial or economic reasons, rather than genuine concerns over player safety. I also trust that you will unconditionally withdraw the baseless accusations of ulterior motives and cowardice which you have previously levelled at, inter alia, the Australian cricket team. The risk of death or injury to touring cricketers, in your country and in your country alone, has now been shown to be a very real risk. It is up to your country to do something about it and then prove to the rest of the world's satisfaction that the risk has been eliminated or, at the very least, greatly reduced. At the end of the day, the welfare of players and the families relying on them is paramount.

Posted by Satish on (January 20, 2009, 21:14 GMT)

Hey all who ever are crying on india for pulling off the tour and calling it injustice should be out of your mind. Your guys come and blast bombs at heart of our country and kill innocent civilians and expert us to come and entertain you in your country ? I feel really discusting to see people who support themselfs even after seing so barbaric incidents. I feel countrys people and its self respect is more important than cricket and India has pulled the tour only to show its love for its people. If you really want Indian players on your soil then, proove your sincerity by stopping the terrorist acts. You can't deny that those peoples acts are not yours as they are living in your country. People are dying and you need entertainment.

Posted by mohsin on (January 20, 2009, 15:24 GMT)

well kiyuni i dont agree with you.kashmir is a problem.by holding fake election i.e by arresting pro pakistani leaders and imposing cerfew.but i am sure that cancellation of tour by india have not affected pakistan because srilanka have toured pakistan and has silinced the critics.

Posted by Kiyuni sharma on (January 20, 2009, 8:24 GMT)

Terrence , Ya sure take out ban on ICL players and ensure Pakistan does not play even the little cricket it is getting now . Besides Election were just held in Kashmir and all is fine there...its in ur mind and media that there is tendency to create issues and problems. Perhaps non-state actors mentality is creeping in.

Posted by Terrence on (January 19, 2009, 12:19 GMT)

If this forum is to become a place for venting political positions let me then mention India's arrogance in ignoring the question of self-determination to the Kashmiri people for such a long time. Even from so far away we can see that it is the main cause of conflict between India and Pakistan. India's intransigence on this matter has now extended into the game of cricket. Pakistan should rethink its position of supporting India blindly in each and every matter in the ICC. For a start Pakistan should lift the ban on players playing in the ICL.

Posted by Bilal Choudry on (January 14, 2009, 4:58 GMT)

I am not sure if this is the forum for political discussion. I see this as a good thing for Pakistan cricket as they should learn to survive without BCCI. 170 Million people fans are more than enough. Also with some encouraging changes in the PCB and induction of former players into the setup should give a chance to Pakistan cricket to start thinking on its own.

Posted by Fahad Khan on (December 29, 2008, 14:19 GMT)

I think the best thing for Pakistan to do is to create a PPL and strengthen domestic cricket. Rahul above has stated that Pakistan does not have money for this because of the IMF loan. I don't think anyone wants the government to create the PPL but private investors to be involved. There are many Pakistanis (in Pakistan and in the US/UK) who have the money and are willing to invest in this venture. Pakistan doesn't need to play India, England or Australia. If they don't want to play, forget it. There are enough Pakistan cricket fans within Pakistan, the middle east and the West who would watch it, and I know of many people, myself included who would love to see a proper (privately owned) Karachi team in this tournament.

Posted by Maud on (December 29, 2008, 12:48 GMT)

Lorgat's faux pas is a demonstration of weakness - This is a statement in denial mode. Its just a statement of a person who is not in denial mode. He just is worried for safety of ICC officials and is going by a neutel security consultants judgement who has experience in judging security scenarios. People in denial mode would like to misconstruct it as conspiracy theory , wrong assesment but most of worlds consulates have same assesment and not all can be corrupt. On topic of PPL , unless it gets approval of ICC, its gonna be just another rebel ICL type of tournament. Besides any sane person would know that PPL is not going to send shivers doen spine of ICC . Besides people advocating PPL , can preach anythnig but no corproate is gonna sponsor matches where quality of games is as good as an ICC associate tournament considering Zim/Bang will be other 2 contestants.ICC is not gonna loose sleep over loss of corprate sponsorship.If PCB gets govt fiunding,,then who funds LeT?????

Posted by vijay on (December 29, 2008, 6:29 GMT)

Dear Kamran, Consider this scenario - You are doing very well and you are enjoying your life and trying to make it better and better everyday. You are progressing well. But you have a very unreasonable neighbour who is always on your throat because he has nothing else to do. He tries to pull you down every which way possible, of course by negative methods. Now, will you send your darling kids to play with this neigbour's kids, even if the innocent kids of your neighbours don't necessarily know what their parent is upto. No, right? That's exactly what the Indian government and BCCI is doing. If they send the Indian team there, it will be the greatest hypocritical act!!!

So instead of crying foul over what BCCI has done, please try to clean up your house and try acting as a good neighbour. And you blame BCCI's economic power for this clout. How did the BCCI become cash-rich? Because the country is doing well. The business houses are investing a lot of money because they see a bright fu

Posted by Mudassar Rana on (December 29, 2008, 4:32 GMT)

Unfortunately many indians have forgotten that pakistan has been a victim of terrorism as well, but we never say its indian inspired - and there is plenty to suggest of nefarious activities in baluchistan, swat and waziristan. 18 consulates in afghanistan where there are less than 100 citizens are not there to protect indian citizens are they?

yet i dont blame indians one bit. we shouldnt expect much more from them. my gripe is with the leadership of the pcb who under eunuchs has bent over backwards to tow the indian line. i cant understand what sort of education these people have received that turns grown men into spineless eunuchs. We ought to aplaud the sri lankans for their fare mindedness, and next time the indians or australians want to tour is to tell em where to jump. there is plenty of money in the arab and muslim world. just get them to fund a 20/20 tournament and watch how the hypocrites come running shouting "the game must go on" and "we're entertainers".

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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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