2010: Summer of Pakistan April 14, 2010

A union of the spirits of cricket and commerce

Necessity is the mother of invention, and the needs of commerce have invented a new form of cricket sponsorship
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England, whose multicultural credentials are reinforced each day, is the country most able to support neutral internationals © Getty Images

Necessity is the mother of invention, and the needs of commerce have invented a new form of cricket sponsorship. Gone are brewers, banks, and airlines. Enter the Marylebone Cricket Club, the most illustrious club in the world of cricket, the owners of the home of cricket, and new best friends of the Pakistan Cricket Board; egg and bacon ties sponsoring the egg and paratha loving cricket team.

First, a reservation: a sponsorship deal is never an act of pure charity. There has to be something in it for the sponsor. In the modern era of international sport, that something has to have a component of financial gain. The MCC has seen the commercial opportunity of hosting more international matches at Lord’s. A new honours board for neutral matches and soundbites from the media launch suggest neutral Tests will become a regular feature of an English Summer. This sponsorship is under the banner of the spirit of cricket but is also in the spirit of commerce.

Unless additional use turns the Lord’s turf into the ploughed field of Wembley, this is a commercial move that must be welcomed. One or two international matches each season are insufficient opportunity for spectators to view the highest standard of cricket at the most appealing venue. England, whose multicultural credentials are reinforced each day, is the country most able to support neutral internationals. Lord’s is a venue that puts the deserts of Arabia and the skating clubs of Canada to the sword.

The MCC’s intervention is also a helping hand. Who’d have imagined that the MCC would play a role in saving Pakistan cricket? Certainly not Idris Baig, the unfortunate Pakistani umpire debagged by MCC players on their first tour of Pakistan. The PCB requires revenue for survival. Pakistan’s cricketers require top international cricket to develop—and I’d prefer that development in the testing environment of an English summer than the comfort of an Eastern dustbowl.

The PCB, for all its notions that the world is set against it, should be grateful to all the nations who have prolonged its survival, and masked its incompetence, by offering a venue for international matches. The best method of repaying that favour is with competitive cricket supported by a full house.

With Australia as the opposition, we can be sure of half of that: English and Pakistani fans will unite to make Lord’s anything but a neutral venue. Imagine last year’s World T20 Final but several degrees worse for Pakistan’s opposition. I’m making a special request for a return of the Pakistani bus. But that requires a performance from the players which, in the words of Donald Rumsfeld, is a known unknown.

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/KamranAbbasi

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Khair ul Alam on May 10, 2010, 13:42 GMT

    Can someone tell Afridi to avoid saying "I" and try to use "We" like instead of "I want to bat first" say "We would like to bat first". The captain shouldn't behave as if he owns the team. I am thinking there may be some truth to what Intikhab says about Pak players.

  • Ram on April 27, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    Could be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan. Young players like U.Akmal and Aamir can be groomed better. Especially for Akmal it will be a real test for his technique. Maybe these constant foreign tours can also make the pakistanis bond together better?

  • Muhammad Saidul Haque on April 25, 2010, 14:21 GMT

    Well, west indian pitch obviously supports for the genuine spinners although the Windies pitches are familiar & suitable for the fast bowlers. But, seemingly this tournament will definitely be focused by real genuine spinners if the spinner would do their great job. So, Pakistan should use at least 3 specialist spinners to dominate over the opponent's Batsmen to control the run-rate. Afridi & team management must have to analysis this bowling operation before the tournament starts. Good Luck Pakistan !

  • Danish Abbasi on April 18, 2010, 23:30 GMT

    ECB has certainly played a role of saviour for cricket hungry Pakistani Crickent team. As no test playing nation was willing to visit pakistan destroyed by every day Suicide attacks and bomb explosions. I agree with Kamran bhai that PCB shoudl reciprocate this inititave by giving top quality cricket to cricket loving English people. To win and lose is the settled phenomenon in every sport but you should compete till the end to preseve the dignity of country in general and cricket in Particular. So i would expect our boys to give their hundred percent in this battle with ever professional aussie outfit. Margin of error against the australian team is very minimum always, the structure of their cricket is very competitive and stabilized. So lets hope that we all will witness the highest quality of cricket in the said series from both the sides. Cricket today is more like a battle of nerves, whoever would be able to maintain their composure certainly will come out on top at the given day. Lets keep our fingers crossed for this gigantic battle between the sheer talent of pakistan team and method coupled with professionalism of australian team.

  • rc on April 18, 2010, 10:41 GMT

    I dont support paskistan or australia but i hope they put a good contest. After weeks of the ipl i would love to watch a good test match.

  • Latif Rasqbool on April 17, 2010, 14:56 GMT

    IPL has been such a success despite T20 world champion team players not playing. This is so hurting. Modi is not thinking of involving 1 team from abroad where 4 Indian players will need to be takento join IPL. The rules are the countries business houses can bid for 1 team . This team will have players from their country. But 4 foreign players(4 Indians in each team) will need to be part of playing 11. One franchise each has been offered to Eng ,SA, Aus,WI,and Bangladesh. NZ and Pakistan are likely to miss out. The idea is to get more chunk viewership of these countries and it seems like another idea that will work and make IPL more powerful. Damn this Modi . Whats he ? A Living management guru . Further news is that each franchise will cost somethnig like 80 million $ base prices. The IPL will then not only be played only in India but home matches will be scheduled in these countries . Wow Bengalis will go over moon to get into stadium. I hate to say it but IPL is growing bigger :( :(

  • EAMiran on April 17, 2010, 5:10 GMT

    Larry Zimmerman: Charity? Thought it was a fair bet, what with your absolute conviction. Put your money where your mouth is or shut up.

  • Mudassar Rana on April 16, 2010, 22:39 GMT

    we should really appreciate the charity being offered to us. buy could the governments of these countries be slightly more charitable and stop supporting military and elected dictators in our country, and whilst there at it stop supporting insurgencies. then there wont be terrorist attacks and you could play the game in our country. @zimmerman never under estimate pakistan we are a nation of lions led by donkeys (to borrow a phrase) and you never know when this dozy lion turns back in vengence.

  • vish n on April 16, 2010, 21:16 GMT

    guys .. just think .. there's a bit of politics involved here.MCC as an extension of ECB currently is isolated in ICC corridors of power with BCCI,ACB & CSA forming a coterie.Obviously ECB/MCC wont let go of the power they held for so long-the best way- join hands with PCB ..!! enemy of an enemy is friend.ECB will also bank on NZ board and the Bangladesh Board to form a clique.They know they cant count on SRILANKA & WIndies as they survive on BCCI largesse.SO its an oppurtunistic arrangement.If and when BCCI and ECB becomes friends again PCB will be dropped like the proverbial hot potato.So its all well & good saying MCC as a saviour but its the backroom politics thats at play here.SO chill and lets not get overjoyed with MCC patronage and be professional about it.

  • Nightwatchman on April 16, 2010, 20:39 GMT

    MCC is doing what the East India Company did a few centuries ago. They will firt take over PCB and then Pakistan.

  • Khair ul Alam on May 10, 2010, 13:42 GMT

    Can someone tell Afridi to avoid saying "I" and try to use "We" like instead of "I want to bat first" say "We would like to bat first". The captain shouldn't behave as if he owns the team. I am thinking there may be some truth to what Intikhab says about Pak players.

  • Ram on April 27, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    Could be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan. Young players like U.Akmal and Aamir can be groomed better. Especially for Akmal it will be a real test for his technique. Maybe these constant foreign tours can also make the pakistanis bond together better?

  • Muhammad Saidul Haque on April 25, 2010, 14:21 GMT

    Well, west indian pitch obviously supports for the genuine spinners although the Windies pitches are familiar & suitable for the fast bowlers. But, seemingly this tournament will definitely be focused by real genuine spinners if the spinner would do their great job. So, Pakistan should use at least 3 specialist spinners to dominate over the opponent's Batsmen to control the run-rate. Afridi & team management must have to analysis this bowling operation before the tournament starts. Good Luck Pakistan !

  • Danish Abbasi on April 18, 2010, 23:30 GMT

    ECB has certainly played a role of saviour for cricket hungry Pakistani Crickent team. As no test playing nation was willing to visit pakistan destroyed by every day Suicide attacks and bomb explosions. I agree with Kamran bhai that PCB shoudl reciprocate this inititave by giving top quality cricket to cricket loving English people. To win and lose is the settled phenomenon in every sport but you should compete till the end to preseve the dignity of country in general and cricket in Particular. So i would expect our boys to give their hundred percent in this battle with ever professional aussie outfit. Margin of error against the australian team is very minimum always, the structure of their cricket is very competitive and stabilized. So lets hope that we all will witness the highest quality of cricket in the said series from both the sides. Cricket today is more like a battle of nerves, whoever would be able to maintain their composure certainly will come out on top at the given day. Lets keep our fingers crossed for this gigantic battle between the sheer talent of pakistan team and method coupled with professionalism of australian team.

  • rc on April 18, 2010, 10:41 GMT

    I dont support paskistan or australia but i hope they put a good contest. After weeks of the ipl i would love to watch a good test match.

  • Latif Rasqbool on April 17, 2010, 14:56 GMT

    IPL has been such a success despite T20 world champion team players not playing. This is so hurting. Modi is not thinking of involving 1 team from abroad where 4 Indian players will need to be takento join IPL. The rules are the countries business houses can bid for 1 team . This team will have players from their country. But 4 foreign players(4 Indians in each team) will need to be part of playing 11. One franchise each has been offered to Eng ,SA, Aus,WI,and Bangladesh. NZ and Pakistan are likely to miss out. The idea is to get more chunk viewership of these countries and it seems like another idea that will work and make IPL more powerful. Damn this Modi . Whats he ? A Living management guru . Further news is that each franchise will cost somethnig like 80 million $ base prices. The IPL will then not only be played only in India but home matches will be scheduled in these countries . Wow Bengalis will go over moon to get into stadium. I hate to say it but IPL is growing bigger :( :(

  • EAMiran on April 17, 2010, 5:10 GMT

    Larry Zimmerman: Charity? Thought it was a fair bet, what with your absolute conviction. Put your money where your mouth is or shut up.

  • Mudassar Rana on April 16, 2010, 22:39 GMT

    we should really appreciate the charity being offered to us. buy could the governments of these countries be slightly more charitable and stop supporting military and elected dictators in our country, and whilst there at it stop supporting insurgencies. then there wont be terrorist attacks and you could play the game in our country. @zimmerman never under estimate pakistan we are a nation of lions led by donkeys (to borrow a phrase) and you never know when this dozy lion turns back in vengence.

  • vish n on April 16, 2010, 21:16 GMT

    guys .. just think .. there's a bit of politics involved here.MCC as an extension of ECB currently is isolated in ICC corridors of power with BCCI,ACB & CSA forming a coterie.Obviously ECB/MCC wont let go of the power they held for so long-the best way- join hands with PCB ..!! enemy of an enemy is friend.ECB will also bank on NZ board and the Bangladesh Board to form a clique.They know they cant count on SRILANKA & WIndies as they survive on BCCI largesse.SO its an oppurtunistic arrangement.If and when BCCI and ECB becomes friends again PCB will be dropped like the proverbial hot potato.So its all well & good saying MCC as a saviour but its the backroom politics thats at play here.SO chill and lets not get overjoyed with MCC patronage and be professional about it.

  • Nightwatchman on April 16, 2010, 20:39 GMT

    MCC is doing what the East India Company did a few centuries ago. They will firt take over PCB and then Pakistan.

  • numan qadri on April 16, 2010, 19:20 GMT

    I only wish that pakistan lose with some pride....coz asking for a win against OZs for this team is like they hav been asked to convert.

  • Emile Syrah on April 16, 2010, 16:41 GMT

    @Omar Hussain - the chip on your shoulder is larger than the Himalyas. Be thankful the Poms have made this gesture and that MCC 21st Century is not MCC 20th Century. These Tests are being played in UK because terrorists ensure no touring team will be allowed in the country. The Pakistan team has become a bunch of nomads and all you do is act with ingratitude. @Rizwan Raza, Messrs Malik and Mirza? Really? It would make them two guys as Messrs is French for men (plural) and mesdames (plural for women). You guys are a joke.

  • Irfan on April 16, 2010, 16:34 GMT

    Hay Larry Zimmermmermmerman. Point noted. But don't be a fool as this season will be used to blood our young. Keep the kitty intact as it will be fair game in next couple of years while betting on Pak team. Booyah!

  • Bari on April 16, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    hello Guys, I would say that I know Pakistan will lose this summer, batsmen will make stupid mistakes, fielders will drop crutial catches. We all would feel angry, disappointed and miserable but there is only one moment in all sports which gives me thrill and that is when Pakistan achive something from nowhere. So I will be following Pak Cricket with the hope that we will become consistant one day but meanwhile if we win one odd series or Test match of T20, that is enough to keep my blood racing.

  • Michael on April 15, 2010, 22:36 GMT

    Well it's time PCB supported issues within the ICC with what they believe in rather than support BCCI and Co. everytime. PCB should take note who is supporting them in it's horrid times.

  • Larry Zimmerman on April 15, 2010, 16:16 GMT

    To ,EAMiran at April 15, 2010 8:16 AM ... You wann bet 25$ against 25k.?.What do you think I am... the world bank or am i USA govt ...where you guys go asking for money every six months to survive.... Or are you an PCB official because 25$ seems to budget of PCB nowdays. Its a BET mate ..play it like a BET ..not like you are asking charity.

  • Mohammad Aslam Kuwait. on April 15, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    What ever will be the result of the ODI and Test cricket for Pakistan players but is going to give blood to bring Pakistan cricket back to action. This high time for PCB to make 2 teams one for ODI and one for Test cricket.Let PCB bring back Yousuf and Younis back in Test and ODI as no one can at present replace them in middle order and of course Misbah should be brought for Test only.One question will there be neutral empires like neutral grounds then you can see the performance of Pakistan players INSHALLAH.And this will be 2nd ashes games for Australia with Pakistan.Some good cricket will be seen that is sure. Best of luck for Pakistan cricket and Pakistan Team.

  • Omar Hussain on April 15, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    Hold on to it Kamran!I thought you understood the British better!Yes they are helping PCB but there is a catch in it!It may be 63 years since they left our country but the 'divide and rule' mentality is still there.Here is just a variation of the same theme.MCC stand by to gain; its purely business and nothing to do with sympathy for Pakistan cricket or country!I still remember how the English cried 'foul' when they were soundly and fairly beaten by Pakistan courtesy of Wasim+Waqar.When their own fast bowlers used the same reverse swing to uproot Australia in 2005 there was a festival of celebration but no-one cried 'foul'.Forget the 'sympathy' they will never care for us and they never have.

  • Usman Moorad on April 15, 2010, 9:06 GMT

    LOL at the first comment from Rizwan. But yeah that's a great move by the MCG, PCB and the country of Pak reeeally owe them one.

  • Rohit on April 15, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    Someone just had to bring up the Malik-Mirza wedding ! I have just about had enough with every second article about it. Anyways I do wish Pakistan all the best when they come to England and rest assured I will accompany my Pakistani friends in supporting them. Make the most of it Pakistan !

  • EAMiran on April 15, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    Larry Zimmerman (from Oz?) you are probably right about the drubbing and definitely spot on regarding character,skill, and temperament of Pak batsmen (not the bowlers); however since you are so confident my $25 against your $25,0000 (1:1000 odds on Pak win). Please contact me at your earliest. And no - I am not an Indian bookie.

  • Khan the Pathan on April 15, 2010, 7:48 GMT

    Yes we will be thrashed by the Oz and the Pom, but one thing that no one takes into account is that we will be fighting all the way with youth, aggression and unpredictability as our weapons.

    We have been written off many times and we ahve shown that we can comeback strong, who gave us a chance in the t20 world cup last year?

    I am so happy that some of the old baggage of the team has been thrown on the dust heap and we have our upcoming U19s starting to come through.

    I predict a fighting contest all summer, but we will come up short.

    See you all at Lords, I will be in the lower tier of the Granstand wearing my Sunehra Sitara with Pride and passion with my Three Lions Cap. BritPak and Proud!!!!!

  • Larry Zimmerman on April 14, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    Everything you wrote is all fine and nice. But one point to disagree and can bet my 25000$ bank balance on is Pakistan will get trashed in test series ,no matter whatever the support .Because its not T20 where you can get lucky for few moments and win the match. Its a TEST match and that means a test of character ,skills ,stamina, temperament and we all know where Pakistan is in all those regards.

  • Mohammad Asad on April 14, 2010, 13:57 GMT

    In this world -- behind every thing there is commerce....and that makes the competition lookretive and shining..... It's really a great step for the sake of cricket especially for the Pak Cricket and to boost Pak players....It will also improve the skill,quality and gear up the confidence of the individuals... Variation is always good and neutral venue is good for cricket and let the people enjoy the new era...........

    Mohammad Asad from USA.

  • Rizwan Raza on April 14, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    Pheww..I thought for a second you were refering to the union of messrs Malik and Mirza!!

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  • Rizwan Raza on April 14, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    Pheww..I thought for a second you were refering to the union of messrs Malik and Mirza!!

  • Mohammad Asad on April 14, 2010, 13:57 GMT

    In this world -- behind every thing there is commerce....and that makes the competition lookretive and shining..... It's really a great step for the sake of cricket especially for the Pak Cricket and to boost Pak players....It will also improve the skill,quality and gear up the confidence of the individuals... Variation is always good and neutral venue is good for cricket and let the people enjoy the new era...........

    Mohammad Asad from USA.

  • Larry Zimmerman on April 14, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    Everything you wrote is all fine and nice. But one point to disagree and can bet my 25000$ bank balance on is Pakistan will get trashed in test series ,no matter whatever the support .Because its not T20 where you can get lucky for few moments and win the match. Its a TEST match and that means a test of character ,skills ,stamina, temperament and we all know where Pakistan is in all those regards.

  • Khan the Pathan on April 15, 2010, 7:48 GMT

    Yes we will be thrashed by the Oz and the Pom, but one thing that no one takes into account is that we will be fighting all the way with youth, aggression and unpredictability as our weapons.

    We have been written off many times and we ahve shown that we can comeback strong, who gave us a chance in the t20 world cup last year?

    I am so happy that some of the old baggage of the team has been thrown on the dust heap and we have our upcoming U19s starting to come through.

    I predict a fighting contest all summer, but we will come up short.

    See you all at Lords, I will be in the lower tier of the Granstand wearing my Sunehra Sitara with Pride and passion with my Three Lions Cap. BritPak and Proud!!!!!

  • EAMiran on April 15, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    Larry Zimmerman (from Oz?) you are probably right about the drubbing and definitely spot on regarding character,skill, and temperament of Pak batsmen (not the bowlers); however since you are so confident my $25 against your $25,0000 (1:1000 odds on Pak win). Please contact me at your earliest. And no - I am not an Indian bookie.

  • Rohit on April 15, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    Someone just had to bring up the Malik-Mirza wedding ! I have just about had enough with every second article about it. Anyways I do wish Pakistan all the best when they come to England and rest assured I will accompany my Pakistani friends in supporting them. Make the most of it Pakistan !

  • Usman Moorad on April 15, 2010, 9:06 GMT

    LOL at the first comment from Rizwan. But yeah that's a great move by the MCG, PCB and the country of Pak reeeally owe them one.

  • Omar Hussain on April 15, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    Hold on to it Kamran!I thought you understood the British better!Yes they are helping PCB but there is a catch in it!It may be 63 years since they left our country but the 'divide and rule' mentality is still there.Here is just a variation of the same theme.MCC stand by to gain; its purely business and nothing to do with sympathy for Pakistan cricket or country!I still remember how the English cried 'foul' when they were soundly and fairly beaten by Pakistan courtesy of Wasim+Waqar.When their own fast bowlers used the same reverse swing to uproot Australia in 2005 there was a festival of celebration but no-one cried 'foul'.Forget the 'sympathy' they will never care for us and they never have.

  • Mohammad Aslam Kuwait. on April 15, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    What ever will be the result of the ODI and Test cricket for Pakistan players but is going to give blood to bring Pakistan cricket back to action. This high time for PCB to make 2 teams one for ODI and one for Test cricket.Let PCB bring back Yousuf and Younis back in Test and ODI as no one can at present replace them in middle order and of course Misbah should be brought for Test only.One question will there be neutral empires like neutral grounds then you can see the performance of Pakistan players INSHALLAH.And this will be 2nd ashes games for Australia with Pakistan.Some good cricket will be seen that is sure. Best of luck for Pakistan cricket and Pakistan Team.

  • Larry Zimmerman on April 15, 2010, 16:16 GMT

    To ,EAMiran at April 15, 2010 8:16 AM ... You wann bet 25$ against 25k.?.What do you think I am... the world bank or am i USA govt ...where you guys go asking for money every six months to survive.... Or are you an PCB official because 25$ seems to budget of PCB nowdays. Its a BET mate ..play it like a BET ..not like you are asking charity.