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April 20, 2012

Pakistan cricket

Flogged, beaten, dead

Kamran Abbasi
Mustafa Kamal and Zaka Ashraf at the ICC Executive Board Meeting, Dubai, April 15, 2012
Mustafa Kamal with Zaka Ashraf during an ICC meeting  © Getty Images
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We await with trepidation any further attempt to resurrect Bangladesh's tour of Pakistan. What do you do with a horse that has been flogged, beaten, and is already dead? This tour isn't toast, it's dog food.

You might have interpreted the length of Bangladesh's proposed visit in two ways. It was either a sensible staged return of international cricket to Pakistan or an indication of Bangladesh's reluctant enthusiasm for the trip. Either way, the PCB and Mustafa Kamal would have accelerated their agendas in the air-conditioned corridors of the ICC. The PCB would hail the return of international cricket to Pakistan, and Kamal would sleep easier over his nomination as the ICC's next vice-president.

Asian cricket is a blemished landscape. Afghanistan is rising, perhaps Bangladesh has risen. Pakistan and Sri Lanka remain flawed but compelling. Above the rush for survival and glory, India rules the skies with power, wealth, captivating personality, and myopic lens that distorts vision.

In general, a bad process produces a bad outcome. Bangladesh's agreement to tour, we discover, was devoid of process except the decision-making process inside Kamal's head. Bangladesh's administrators were perplexed, players were reluctant, a coach stepped down, and a court order prevented the tour from going ahead as planned. Only in Asia; cricket is a metaphor for life, all the chaos, absurdity, and passion thrown in.

Meanwhile, the PCB is to be praised for its desire to return international cricket to Pakistan but this result must not come at all costs. The PCB has always seemed too desperate to make this tour a reality. If the circumstances don't allow, why force it? A weekend break by Bangladesh will be symbolism alone, a trivial argument in the forlorn battles to entice visits by England, Australia, and India.

India has little need for Pakistan or its players. Don't listen to the words, observe the deeds. As short-sighted as the Indian approach is, for let's be clear a successful tour by India would instantly banish many of the barriers that rise like demons to prevent international cricket in Pakistan, it's the realpolitik of international cricket.

Pakistan's strategy is clear albeit painful. Build a thriving cricket culture that strengthens domestic cricket, making it a spectacle for supporters, and build relationships with other cricket boards especially in Asia and independent of India to further Pakistan's international cricket, not superficial alignments as with Kamal but deep bonds. This isn't a short-term agenda. It requires graft, commitment, and an eye for the long game.

The power of Indian cricket, and the power of its whims, is unlikely to be eroded. This is a tragedy because many India fans despair as much with the policies of its cricket board as many outsiders do. Again, this is the Asian way; we get the rulers we don't deserve. Ironically, the demographic view is that only Asia will be able to challenge India, and that challenge is necessary to bring balance to the skewed world of international cricket.

The rest of Asia must challenge its mighty neighbour; an important service for the future health of international cricket. The current plight of Pakistan cricket can be a catalyst to make that future a reality. There can be safety in numbers. It's either that or the Asian nations can look forward to a lifetime of scraps charmingly served at the high table of Indian cricket.

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

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Keywords: Politics

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by hussain on (May 12, 2012, 16:59 GMT)

Misbah should set aside himself from captaining ODI squad.We acknowledge his performances in ODI,s but his age is the biggest factor. He is not going to ascend from this stage anymore.He can contribute towards cricket by playing test cricket only. He should concentrate on tests. Make long term changes. Any failure in ODI,s will push him close towards dumping him in the same manner as most of our well known cricketers.

Posted by akb on (May 12, 2012, 12:08 GMT)

Its good to see that most of the players in the national circuit performing well, will get chance to play for their country in 1 way or the other.

Posted by hus on (May 12, 2012, 12:05 GMT)

PCB is persisting with its policy of showing door to the cricket stalwarts.The coming T20 cup is considered to be Afridi,s last. It would have been a great send off to him if he was appointed capt of the team. Especially when you say that Hafeez is not a long term capt but he will be playing alongside Misbah to help Pak cricket. What a nonsense.

Posted by shahnawaz on (May 5, 2012, 21:48 GMT)

yess.. pakistan should watch the future series.

Posted by hus on (May 5, 2012, 2:01 GMT)

Some people are never considered as perfect cricketers to suite all the formats of the game. Afridi ,Imran Nazir despite showing brilliance during their carriers fall in the same category. According to the GOP, Afridi would have been as effective in test matches as in ODI,s & T20. His performance in tests speaks for him but he is wise enough to know his short comings. He opted out of test cricket & fair enough. He was an ODI player right from the begining & with the passage of time has become more a T20 player rather than an ODI player.Very few players with sheer talent can specialise in the T20 version of cricket. It will be an injustice not to mention Gayle.

Posted by akb on (May 5, 2012, 1:33 GMT)

T20 has hurried things up in cricket.It has brought cricket very close to baseball.On one hand it is considered as a game of the young while on the other hand senior cricketers can use it as continuation of their hobby after retirement. Apart from fielding,seniors can stand the vigours of the game because of the shortness of the format. Anybody can bat/bowl few overs. But the fact is that leaving the pump & show aside, T20 is not going to help cricket in the long run. It has tampered with the basic infra structure of the game.

Posted by khalil on (May 4, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

IPL has already lost much of it,s initial glitter. A lot of retired or near retirement players & with so many unknown faces in the teams speak by itself.

Posted by hussain on (May 4, 2012, 11:38 GMT)

Pak was the only team who can throw an open challange to India in cricket. India would not like to be humiliated by losing to Pak after having so much say in world cricket because of its financial position. Rather it is trying to reduce Pak cricket to ashes by hitting hard to cut off finances to PCB ,be it through cancellation of FTP,s or preventing other teams,s visit to Pak by asserting its financial status. It,s clear from its attitude towards Pak cricket that anybody, be it Pak umpires, Pak players on visas from other countries, coaches or Pak commentators, all are eligible for IPL but for Pak Cricket team players. Isn,t it ? But this situation is not going to last long. Pak is due to bounce back on the cricket scene with a bang.

Posted by haseeb on (May 1, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

pakistan should push for revoking bangladesh's test status

Posted by Zeeshan on (April 28, 2012, 15:56 GMT)

I think that, now the sensible thing for us to focus on our next tour to SL . forgot about everything and perform well . Win in that way the best teams of the world want to play with us .........

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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 international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

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