August 25, 2008

A devastating decision

The decision to effectively cancel the Champions Trophy completely alienates Pakistan - as a cricket team and as a nation
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Brian Murgatroyd, a part of ICC's six-member delegation in Pakistan, being frisked in Lahore. Pakistan did all they could to ensure players' safety © AFP
 

Unless you live in Pakistan, or have been here through the madness of the last year or so, it will be impossible to understand the despondency the decision to postpone the Champions Trophy is likely to cause.

For one, it is actually a cancellation. Next year has enough action to fill a John Woo trilogy. Fitting a tournament into it is harder than getting Oprah Winfrey into one of Kate Moss' dresses. And the only thing more useless than the Champions Trophy in some eyes is two Champions Trophies in two years: one is scheduled to be held in 2010.

But this decision also essentially sets in stone a future policy for all non-Asian nations now: there is no need to tour Pakistan. The war on terror Pakistan is leading will not end overnight, because such nebulous wars don't. At best, within this country, it will have to be managed so that interference with life's everyday grind is minimal. Expect stories that Pakistan's place as co-hosts of the 2011 World Cup is under threat to be churned out from next year.

For countries like Australia it makes no difference, for they seem to have put their policy in place some ten years ago. They haven't toured even once in that time and have never shown a particular willingness to do so. Leaders they may be on the field, but on this matter they have been consistently disgraceful.

South Africa have toured here, but pulled out of the Champions Trophy first, which at best is inconsistent and at worst hypocritical. They came last October when the situation was as, if not more, unstable than it is now. They even stayed after the first attempt on Benazir Bhutto's life, and weeks before they arrived, the siege of Lal Masjid had just ended. Days after they left, a state of emergency was announced, indicating just how turbulent things were.

Incidentally it was players from these countries who didn't mind the bombs in Jaipur during the IPL. The context may be different, sure, but how much does that really matter? A bomb after all is a bomb, in India or Pakistan, whether suicide or planted, one of a series or solitary, and equally likely to cause damage. Perhaps next time Pakistan should dangle a bagful of dollars in front of players rather than inviting tedious security assessments.

Barring that what more could Pakistan have done? Nothing. The security arrangements, by many accounts, were outstanding. FICA's chief is supposed to have told the PCB that they were the best arrangements he had seen. The Asia Cup was held recently without so much as a beep on the many metal detectors and scanners placed at stadiums. No, the question is not what Pakistan could have done, for they did everything.

The question really is what the unwilling countries could have done. Open their minds is the only answer, because from the account of at least one individual involved in the task-force meetings, players had already closed their minds and were willing to hear only what they wanted. Does it need repeating that cricket has never been targeted here? Or even that security anywhere in the world can never be guaranteed? Eventually the concerns weren't so much over the security arrangements but over whether they could be sustained. How on earth is any organisation supposed to prove that sustainability without the tournament actually going ahead?

 
 
Pakistan needed to show itself - and see itself - in headlines that didn't have the words 'terrorist' and 'Al-Qaeda' in them. They went out of their way to try and ensure it, yet were still rebuffed. At a time when Pakistan needed most to feel involved and wanted in the world of cricket and the world itself, Pakistan finds itself shut out
 

Things must be put into perspective, people will say, and that it isn't worth putting lives at risk. It should be countered not only that risk is everywhere, but that things must now be seen from Pakistan's perspective.

Pakistan has had a miserable year and a half. It feels as if another downward spiral has been embarked upon. Battles are raging in remote parts of the country, there is political uncertainty, the economy is in the pits, and much, much else that requires another forum. But increasingly the feeling is that instead of being further engaged in the debate that is shaping the world, the country is being marginalised.

That feeling is now seeping into the cricket. Already this will be the first calendar year in many that Pakistan doesn't play a single Test. Once, in the 1970s and 1980s, they were a leading voice in the game's administration. At times they are now but a hollow echo of the BCCI. There is also a mediocre and now untested team on the field.

So Pakistan needed to host the Champions Trophy, the second-most important ODI tournament in the game, to put some feelgood back in the air, an opportunity to show that it still matters. Pakistan needed to show itself - and see itself - in headlines that didn't have the words "terrorist" and "Al-Qaeda" in them. They went out of their way to try and ensure it, yet were still rebuffed. At a time when Pakistan needed most to feel involved and wanted in the world of cricket and the world itself, Pakistan finds itself shut out.

Pakistanis are fond of asking what actually unites and defines them. Some say there are many things, some say there are barely any, but cricket is a given, in both cases, a bond of some kind. It has always pulled people here together, however briefly, in joy, in grief, in celebration, in outrage. It has been played with verve for much of the country's history, and talked, argued, shouted and screamed about with greater passion. It is one constant in a land of very few.

For that to be taken away, at this time, when it was probably most needed, the disappointment, the anger, the frustration and the ensuing depression of that will not be understood by people outside Pakistan. It is time that it was.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY juventus on | September 1, 2008, 11:57 GMT

    What a load of rubbish from the non-Asian countries. They just good at hiding or ignoring the problems in their own countries and point out the worst in others. Need I remind everyone of the racist nature of a lot of the non-Asian test playing nations e.g. the racist rampage in Austrailia a few years ago, a South African player's comments few years ago, even the non-Asians are racist towards each other, but cricket carries on still. And no, it's not just banter or light humour - it's discrimination, and no it's not a less serious problem as is the one in Pakistan at the moment. Why block out Pakistan? I go on holiday there all the time to see family, and the media just blow up a stupid image which Pakistan is not. You want to judge any entity on 20 minutes of footage chosen to be shown out of 1440 minutes. Non-Asian countries need to sort out their facts out before judging.

  • POSTED BY poderdubdubdub on | August 29, 2008, 10:37 GMT

    Its true that pakistan could not do much to help its cause, in the way of stopping terrorism, yet its also true that the foreign teams especially from the west were always reluctant to visit Pakistan, long before terrorism started. They only visited Pakistan out of a sense of duty, they admitted that they never enjoyed staying in Pakistan, they called it a "Dump". Most of it has to do with the cultural constraints, I dont think there is an easy answer. Terrorism has provided the foreign teams especially from the west a very convenient excuse, dont go far, Australia are going ahead with India tour despite dozens of bombings in Banglore, they will play the first test in BANGLORE!!

  • POSTED BY truthspeaker on | August 28, 2008, 20:48 GMT

    Pakistan's security is in dire starits - Daily violence, bombings, lynching etc.m India's violence in comparison is negligible - also, lots of the violence in India is either caused by Pakistan or related to Pakistan

    India has a terrific record treating foreigners with dignity and safety - India is above alla secular nation and everyone feels safe - the Indian culture is one of modesty and and its religions are very moderate and balanced

    so, let us be clear - Playing in Pakistan is not safe

  • POSTED BY inningsbreak on | August 28, 2008, 18:38 GMT

    One thing I fail to see in these comments - from the perspective of players who tour Pakistan - they are either on the field, or pent up in their hotel rooms. They have no night life to avail, no bars to drink in, no places to gamble or "have fun". They look for an excuse not to tour Pakistan. Terrorism is merely a cover for their more socially unacceptable response, which is Pakistan offers nothing to non-muslim visitors or those that have an open mind. 10 years from now, even if the bombs stop exploding, countries will find other reasons not to tour.

  • POSTED BY thair9999 on | August 28, 2008, 15:41 GMT

    It is all about Asian and non-Asian block. There is power struggle is going on. Non-Asian cricket playing countries are seeing that power is shifting to Asian block. CT is give them opportunity to bash PCB and save some self-pride. BCCI and PCB should stand shoulder to shoulder and once again take what is rightfully theirs. Long live the CRICKET

  • POSTED BY Shinoj_82 on | August 28, 2008, 13:29 GMT

    Why dont the Pakistani's think from the touring sides perspective. With the kind of unrest in you country even if a cricketer agrees to tour Pakistan just try to imagine what his relatives would go through till the time he is there. And suppose some incident occurs affecting any cricketer your reputation will further come down. Cricket shouldnt be a priority right now there.

  • POSTED BY kkp394 on | August 28, 2008, 12:59 GMT

    I completely disagree with the concept "Bombs have gone up in London and Mumbai and you still played. Then why dont you play in Pakistan". First of all the situations are not comparable. Agreed that a bomb is a bomb everywhere but bombs exploding on a weekly basis is entirely different from bombs going off rarely. You cant ask a player from Australia , who probably doesnt even know what it is to have an explosion in his city to come to a place of which he is very afraid. May be money is playing a role , but it has to be understood that with its very loose political structure and poor security , there is little wonder that cricketers are afraid of touring Pakistan and actually who doesnt want to earn money, money is the main motive for PCB doing everything in it's hands to host the tournament. Pakistan should look at solving issues internal to it so that the country automatically becomes a place where ppl want to come, rather than accusing cricketers , who are normal people like anyone.

  • POSTED BY AbhijeetGupta on | August 28, 2008, 10:54 GMT

    Osman Samiuddin's article is touching. It can very well be seen as a revenge by Western Block against an Asian Block. The shockinglg thing is if Indian cricket team can travel to Pakistan even after such bitter history , why can't any other country then. Australian are known for their prima donna behaviour. In the past many ausi greats l;ike Chappells, Lilliee , Thommo never played in India. The reason it was lucrative enough. The only reason they are playing in IPL and have ongoing series with India on a yearly basis is because of money. If Pakistan was earning such money then won't be any such issue. Security reason etc are just a flmsy excuse. The soft belly of PCB is only making the matter worse. Pakistani officials are pulling PCB in opposite direction. No wonder then decisions get changed in a jiffy. Shoaib Akhtar alway seems to get basnned but returns back to the team after few months. Asif case is the similar , he's a known drug abuser who return on some technicality.

  • POSTED BY RajChellappan on | August 28, 2008, 7:53 GMT

    Excellent article clearly expressing how Pakistanis must be feeling. While concerns of security among players is understandable, I can't help feeling that ICC simply pushed the tournament to postpone a conflict between asian and non-asian countries. If security was such a concern, ICC should have simply "cancelled" the tournament and not postpone it. The problem is that ICC is worried about the bullying power of BCCI and the impending protest by non-asian countries.

    Beyond the current Champions trophy crisis, I feel that BCCI must ensure it uses its powers wisely, otherwise it will lose its credibility and lead to a split down the middle of the cricketing world. I'm a person that would love great relations between India and Pakistan in every arena, but in a sense, the possibility that BCCI may side up with PCB may be disadvantageous for the PCB in a situation like the Champions Trophy. BCCI must use its powers wisely and in a credible manner.

  • POSTED BY Farhan166 on | August 28, 2008, 3:10 GMT

    Many of your correspondents have understandably argued about the security concerns of the players. Fair enough, if they have concerns but be bold and loud about your security concerns now, rather than cancel the tour at the eleventh hour. If you do not want to play in Pakistan for the rescheduled CT in 2009 make your voice loud and clear right now. Cricket Australia and the some of the senior cricketers are continuously snubbing Pakistan for the last 10 years. This policy of arrogantly cancelling the Pakistan tour every time at the eleventh hour is pathetic and shows complete disregard to Pakistan. Australia hasn't toured Pakistan for the last 10 years and it won't be an epic tragedy if Australia doesn't undertake a Pakistan tour for the next few years. It will also save the elite Aussie cricketers from high stress levels. Better be open with the Pakistan board and stop this foul game of dropping out at the very last minute. PCB should also cancel the future Australian tours.

  • POSTED BY juventus on | September 1, 2008, 11:57 GMT

    What a load of rubbish from the non-Asian countries. They just good at hiding or ignoring the problems in their own countries and point out the worst in others. Need I remind everyone of the racist nature of a lot of the non-Asian test playing nations e.g. the racist rampage in Austrailia a few years ago, a South African player's comments few years ago, even the non-Asians are racist towards each other, but cricket carries on still. And no, it's not just banter or light humour - it's discrimination, and no it's not a less serious problem as is the one in Pakistan at the moment. Why block out Pakistan? I go on holiday there all the time to see family, and the media just blow up a stupid image which Pakistan is not. You want to judge any entity on 20 minutes of footage chosen to be shown out of 1440 minutes. Non-Asian countries need to sort out their facts out before judging.

  • POSTED BY poderdubdubdub on | August 29, 2008, 10:37 GMT

    Its true that pakistan could not do much to help its cause, in the way of stopping terrorism, yet its also true that the foreign teams especially from the west were always reluctant to visit Pakistan, long before terrorism started. They only visited Pakistan out of a sense of duty, they admitted that they never enjoyed staying in Pakistan, they called it a "Dump". Most of it has to do with the cultural constraints, I dont think there is an easy answer. Terrorism has provided the foreign teams especially from the west a very convenient excuse, dont go far, Australia are going ahead with India tour despite dozens of bombings in Banglore, they will play the first test in BANGLORE!!

  • POSTED BY truthspeaker on | August 28, 2008, 20:48 GMT

    Pakistan's security is in dire starits - Daily violence, bombings, lynching etc.m India's violence in comparison is negligible - also, lots of the violence in India is either caused by Pakistan or related to Pakistan

    India has a terrific record treating foreigners with dignity and safety - India is above alla secular nation and everyone feels safe - the Indian culture is one of modesty and and its religions are very moderate and balanced

    so, let us be clear - Playing in Pakistan is not safe

  • POSTED BY inningsbreak on | August 28, 2008, 18:38 GMT

    One thing I fail to see in these comments - from the perspective of players who tour Pakistan - they are either on the field, or pent up in their hotel rooms. They have no night life to avail, no bars to drink in, no places to gamble or "have fun". They look for an excuse not to tour Pakistan. Terrorism is merely a cover for their more socially unacceptable response, which is Pakistan offers nothing to non-muslim visitors or those that have an open mind. 10 years from now, even if the bombs stop exploding, countries will find other reasons not to tour.

  • POSTED BY thair9999 on | August 28, 2008, 15:41 GMT

    It is all about Asian and non-Asian block. There is power struggle is going on. Non-Asian cricket playing countries are seeing that power is shifting to Asian block. CT is give them opportunity to bash PCB and save some self-pride. BCCI and PCB should stand shoulder to shoulder and once again take what is rightfully theirs. Long live the CRICKET

  • POSTED BY Shinoj_82 on | August 28, 2008, 13:29 GMT

    Why dont the Pakistani's think from the touring sides perspective. With the kind of unrest in you country even if a cricketer agrees to tour Pakistan just try to imagine what his relatives would go through till the time he is there. And suppose some incident occurs affecting any cricketer your reputation will further come down. Cricket shouldnt be a priority right now there.

  • POSTED BY kkp394 on | August 28, 2008, 12:59 GMT

    I completely disagree with the concept "Bombs have gone up in London and Mumbai and you still played. Then why dont you play in Pakistan". First of all the situations are not comparable. Agreed that a bomb is a bomb everywhere but bombs exploding on a weekly basis is entirely different from bombs going off rarely. You cant ask a player from Australia , who probably doesnt even know what it is to have an explosion in his city to come to a place of which he is very afraid. May be money is playing a role , but it has to be understood that with its very loose political structure and poor security , there is little wonder that cricketers are afraid of touring Pakistan and actually who doesnt want to earn money, money is the main motive for PCB doing everything in it's hands to host the tournament. Pakistan should look at solving issues internal to it so that the country automatically becomes a place where ppl want to come, rather than accusing cricketers , who are normal people like anyone.

  • POSTED BY AbhijeetGupta on | August 28, 2008, 10:54 GMT

    Osman Samiuddin's article is touching. It can very well be seen as a revenge by Western Block against an Asian Block. The shockinglg thing is if Indian cricket team can travel to Pakistan even after such bitter history , why can't any other country then. Australian are known for their prima donna behaviour. In the past many ausi greats l;ike Chappells, Lilliee , Thommo never played in India. The reason it was lucrative enough. The only reason they are playing in IPL and have ongoing series with India on a yearly basis is because of money. If Pakistan was earning such money then won't be any such issue. Security reason etc are just a flmsy excuse. The soft belly of PCB is only making the matter worse. Pakistani officials are pulling PCB in opposite direction. No wonder then decisions get changed in a jiffy. Shoaib Akhtar alway seems to get basnned but returns back to the team after few months. Asif case is the similar , he's a known drug abuser who return on some technicality.

  • POSTED BY RajChellappan on | August 28, 2008, 7:53 GMT

    Excellent article clearly expressing how Pakistanis must be feeling. While concerns of security among players is understandable, I can't help feeling that ICC simply pushed the tournament to postpone a conflict between asian and non-asian countries. If security was such a concern, ICC should have simply "cancelled" the tournament and not postpone it. The problem is that ICC is worried about the bullying power of BCCI and the impending protest by non-asian countries.

    Beyond the current Champions trophy crisis, I feel that BCCI must ensure it uses its powers wisely, otherwise it will lose its credibility and lead to a split down the middle of the cricketing world. I'm a person that would love great relations between India and Pakistan in every arena, but in a sense, the possibility that BCCI may side up with PCB may be disadvantageous for the PCB in a situation like the Champions Trophy. BCCI must use its powers wisely and in a credible manner.

  • POSTED BY Farhan166 on | August 28, 2008, 3:10 GMT

    Many of your correspondents have understandably argued about the security concerns of the players. Fair enough, if they have concerns but be bold and loud about your security concerns now, rather than cancel the tour at the eleventh hour. If you do not want to play in Pakistan for the rescheduled CT in 2009 make your voice loud and clear right now. Cricket Australia and the some of the senior cricketers are continuously snubbing Pakistan for the last 10 years. This policy of arrogantly cancelling the Pakistan tour every time at the eleventh hour is pathetic and shows complete disregard to Pakistan. Australia hasn't toured Pakistan for the last 10 years and it won't be an epic tragedy if Australia doesn't undertake a Pakistan tour for the next few years. It will also save the elite Aussie cricketers from high stress levels. Better be open with the Pakistan board and stop this foul game of dropping out at the very last minute. PCB should also cancel the future Australian tours.

  • POSTED BY AnthonyQuinn on | August 27, 2008, 15:46 GMT

    The problem is that the Indian board is helping Pakistan through its usual bullying ways. Otherwise the Champions Trophy would have been moved out of Pakistan already.

    Strangely the Pakistani supporters and the authors seem to be targetting India and Indians int heir columns and posts.

    Grow up. While admitting that the BCCI is an arrogant and rogue bunch, Without Indian support you would be nowhere in your quest to host this trophy. Who on earth wants to risk his life?

  • POSTED BY Columbia13 on | August 27, 2008, 15:35 GMT

    Pakistan is reaping the "rewards" for the policy it has perpetrated around the world. I do not think blamimg the players from western countries is the right way to go. There are more important things in life than cricket and it is unreasonable to expect the players to play cricket if they feel even the slightest risk.Pakistan need to have a close look at itself so that it can bring peace and tranquility in the country. The fact that cricketers have reservations playing in pakistan but have no problems playing in Jaipur or London after a bomb blast shows how difficult it is to trust Pakistan in terms of safety and security. Pakistan is being bitten by the same pitbull it unleashed on the world. I think it's only fair!

  • POSTED BY Farhan166 on | August 27, 2008, 12:32 GMT

    Enough is enough. How long Pakistan board will continue to plead, bit the dust and roll on the ground to keep begging Australia and other teams to visit Pakistan. These countries are taking Pakistan for an easy ride. It is high time that PCB take a stand on the arrogant attitude of the Australian board and senior cricketers. Pakistan should have cricketing relations only with the countries which are happy and willing to visit Pakistan, even if that means playing no international cricket at all for a few years. Cricket Australia, the Players association and the senior cricketers needs to show a lot more clarity and transparency towards their policy of touring Pakistan. They should stop this policy of procrastination about taking the decision to tour Pakistan depending on security experts advice. The senior cricketers should also be bold enough to take their own decision instead of lobbying privately for the cancellation of tour and hiding behind the board to take decision for them.

  • POSTED BY rahilkh on | August 27, 2008, 12:26 GMT

    Touching article Osman! First of all, I am the biggest critic of law and order situation in Pakistan. Having said that, I agree that it is probably blown out of proportion in the case of CT. So, what should PCB and Pakistan do? Well there are lots of creative things that can be done. One would be to allow Pakistani players freedom to pull out of a tour - let the players association be formed and take root - on the glimpse of a rude crowd behavior down-under. Then simply refuse to play (i.e. close your mind) no matter how much convincing CA gives you on their crowd control and security measure, etc. etc. Case in point - racist slurs in Aus vs SA and Aus vs SL (Murali incident). If anything like that happens with Pak team - simply cancel the tour and let the board and TV executives sort out the consequences, however small. Let them feel the pinch. Every little niggle counts. PCB should not court CA or SA for any matches this september. Above all keep your chin up!

  • POSTED BY RaashidShunthoo on | August 27, 2008, 9:46 GMT

    Let us be clear that in no uncertain terms this is huge set back for Pakistan in general and its cricket in particular.This time around it did everything which was possiby needed to be done in terms of security related issues.No wonder for this cancellation Aussies were the chief architect.One fails to understand the logic behing their decision.If they are to be beleived then it means that PCB has double standards when it calls teams like Zimbawbe, Bangledesh, India and Srilanka, which actually is not the case.For any organizer all the participants are equal and demand equal levels of securities.If other teams can play in Pakistan under the same security cover what is it which prevents teams like Australia, NZ, SA and England to decide against it.Does it mean that for Pakistan the life of any player of Zimbawbe is less important than the life of any Australain crickter ? Blasts and terror is universal activity now and no place is safe enough.Let these cricket nations realize it.

  • POSTED BY Krissh_M on | August 27, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    "Let's be honest. When our own people are not safe in the country, then how can we guarantee the safety of foreigners?" Abdul Qadir supports the postponement of the Champions Trophy

    Aug 26, 2008

  • POSTED BY Reid84 on | August 27, 2008, 4:35 GMT

    I understand its a big disappointment for you and of course me that the Champions trophy has been moved out (in the name of postponement). But please please don't compare your neighbor India with Pakistan. They are 2 worlds apart.

    India faces a war from outside the country which is not the case in Pakistan. Moreover, India offers a better security to people from other countries - I have personally seen it. And you talking of cricketers playing in IPL when there was some blast in Jaipur - only for money is in bad taste. Who does not want to earn money in the world. There are many people who go to Iraq for earning money inspite of being a dangerous place. So dont talk about IPL and you should be happy that BCCI helps the Pakistan board - otherwise cricket in Pakistan would have run out of money. I hope some country (apart from Bng, Ind or Sri Lanka) visit Pak soon.

  • POSTED BY thair9999 on | August 27, 2008, 2:15 GMT

    Mr. Vmind the situation is not much different in India. Bomb is a bomb, the only difference is BCCI has much deeper pockets. It is all about money, if not then why all of a sudden BCCI is the only one controlling everything, Remember the Harbhajan case in Australia. Regarding "stable and secular", by the way how many people get killed in India in religious Riots (since you live in India you may know it better). BCCI has no problem playing with Pakistan because they know it generates more money then anything else. Lets admit it what it is "MONEY RULES THE WORLD".

  • POSTED BY vmind on | August 26, 2008, 22:44 GMT

    Mr. Osman, don't even compare India and Pakistan in terms of instability! After having read how India's tour bus was led by convoy during its Pakistan tour (John Wright's book Indian Summers), one can easily see how the security forces play cat and mouse with terrorists in transporting the cricketers. Who would want to risk his life? As against that, India is a safe place (touch wood). So don't even compare the situation in two countries. Cricketers came for IPL not just for money, but because it was safe. And whatever little instability we have in India, we all know who is behind the proxy, so the less said the better. Not sure why BCCI is supporting Pak so adamantly...

  • POSTED BY govind_115 on | August 26, 2008, 19:29 GMT

    I am wondering now situation is like this then what will happn to 2011 WC?world cup is the biggest tournament in cricket and its going to b conducted in pakistan too,so ICC must start thinking about that too. because it need too much attention in organizing that great tournament and meed to be prepared from now itself.i am with players,they have their valuable life,they must not decide to go in those places where there is threat of only terror,because millions hopes are there on those cricketers,and pakistan govt. and ICC must think before organizing any such tournament in pakistan..

  • POSTED BY hiflyer1961 on | August 26, 2008, 18:14 GMT

    I like any other Pakistani love cricket and our team. Yes there is instability but Australia has constantly refused to visit Pakistan since I believe 1998. Guess what that is way before 9/11. Coalition of the willing are invovled in killing of Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan through cross-border attacks. Cricket is not more important than our peoples self-respect, I am glade you white folks feel ussafe, you should because you the reason for this mayhem.

  • POSTED BY Aly_Kazim on | August 26, 2008, 17:58 GMT

    There are people who are taking this as an insult on the country and there are people who are taking this as a delaying of a much awaited tournament since 20-20 world cup. All have different views to this situation sitting at various different places, but if i think as a neautral person and not as a pakistani, all the news channels showing the footage of the bombings and people dying are in a way establishing in people's minds that there is no safety back home, but myself living in karachi during all this so called terrorist activities, would not feel in danger as much as the people sitting in Australia, England and SouthAfrica. though keepin this apart look at the past tournament being held in pakistan, the south africa tour and the Asia Cup, the players and the teams were given a presidential level security, what more can a nation and a board do to please people to realise, that any sport is not a target of these activists. If you look at something in a good way it will not look bad.

  • POSTED BY Chestnutgrey on | August 26, 2008, 13:17 GMT

    Pakistan should organize an international twenty-twenty tournament and just watch how they all flock in.

  • POSTED BY reets on | August 26, 2008, 12:40 GMT

    I'm glad the CT was postponed. Pakistan is not only an unsafe place, it's also the place that encourages terrorism. so they cant pretend to be offended that no one wants to play there. I'm shocked that the BCCI was willing to send our cricketers there. we've lost enough of lives to pakistani terrorists why are we sending more on a platter?

    Stop terrorising the world and i'm sure people will have no problem coming and playing there. the only reason India plays in pakistan is becuase we have a sissy governement that doesnt value the life of it's citizens. So i'm really glad that the CT was postponed and hope it gets transfered to anotehr location. Pakistan cant eat it's cake and keep it too.

  • POSTED BY crazy-sid on | August 26, 2008, 11:10 GMT

    I agree with Mr.Abbasi that the cricket boards of Australia, England and other countries that have opposed the staging of Champions Trophy in Pakistan should have sent those players who were willing to come even if it meant fielding weaker sides. The developed countries' players seem to look down upon countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh and still have the colonial hangover. Moreover the ICC should not have postponed the Champions Trophy but gone ahead with the countries willing to participate and should have filled up the vacancies with non Test playing nations. This would have shown Australia and England that cricket does not exist because of them but in spite of them. After all terrorism is a global phenomenon London is as much under threat as Lahore or Karachi. What would have happened if there was a bomb blast in England? Would Australia refuse to go and play there?

  • POSTED BY alexindinuk on | August 26, 2008, 10:08 GMT

    A bomb after all is a bomb, in India or Pakistan, whether suicide or planted, one of a series or solitary, and equally likely to cause damage. Perhaps next time Pakistan should dangle a bagful of dollars in front of players rather than inviting tedious security assessments.

    Osman, even though I have been living in UK for a good while now, I spent my first 25 years in India and still remember the decision taken by Australia to cancel their tour to India in the late 70s citing unhygeinic conditions and 'Delhi belly'. For a young child whose heroes were Lillee and Greg Chappell, that was devastating news. Now we are sick of seeing the Aussies. They were there last week, yesterday and what, they are coming back again in October for a 4 test series!? Hmmm, I wonder what made this aussie generation so brave as to tour India so often?!! Any one knows the answer?

  • POSTED BY PottedLambShanks on | August 26, 2008, 9:33 GMT

    Can someone give me one good reason why Western countries should send their players into a country which is probably the most dangerous place on earth for Westerners? It seems to me that the only reason is to keep the people of Pakistan happy. Well, sorry, but the lives of our cricketers and supporters are vastly more important than the happiness of any number of people.

  • POSTED BY anilkp on | August 26, 2008, 5:46 GMT

    We cricket lovers must realize that the game of cricket is one thing and its administration by ICC and its constituent boards another. The former is a serene divinity forcibly masked by the ugly and ruthless latter. It is a pain we have to endure. Perhaps the best cricket we can enjoy is in our backyard. Neither the 'unwilling-five' nor the fear of terrorists can do a thing. Now, on a more worldly tone, it is beyond dispute to say that (i) there is a statistically greater threat to life in Pakistan than in India/SL, and much less in the 'unwilling five'; (ii) India/SL cannot ditch Pak since they also stand on similar ground of terror; (iii) a terror attack elsewhere is different from one in Pak where the Army, intelligence & polity back extrimism; (iv) and that worldwide terror attacks in this decade invariably emanate from Pak soil. Terrorism must stop, Pak can & has to do a lot. The duality of bombing and supporting Taliban can only - forget cricket - ruin the country.

  • POSTED BY bhayak on | August 26, 2008, 5:29 GMT

    For what use is a presidential level of security when the safety of the president himself is not ensured. Last year Gen.Musharraf's plane was fired at by an anti-aircraft gun from a Rawalpindi rooftop and this was still last year. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6277000.stm

    With Pakistan's situation being infinitely more volatile than it was in '07 and with foreign intelligence agencies questioning the army's loyalties, I see no reason why teams should not pull out.

    In fact I was quite surprised by BCCI's willingness to participate in the wake of the Kabul bombings. Of course this does not mean I wish India never played Pakistan, but playing Pakistan in a neutral venue would be a safer option as opposed to playing them at home.

  • POSTED BY dinakar.moksh on | August 26, 2008, 5:08 GMT

    India and Srilanka should help Pakistan in this grim situation. I hope along with bangladesh they can play a four nation tournament. With all the security arrangements am damn sure that the tournament would go on smoothly and it will be face on the slap for Aus,SA,NZ and Eng teams.

    ICC should take some stern steps here. security assessment made by team of experts appointed by them is real positive, and in this case when teams refuse to travel must be fined heavily.

  • POSTED BY 112211de on | August 26, 2008, 3:41 GMT

    I respect your views and understand how frustrating it is for a Pakistani cricket fan or for that matter any cricket fan in the light of what has happened. 'sports should not be mixed with politics' a longstanding cliche, but quite appropriate, but we should also be aware of what the present circumstances are. Pakistan is going through a very rough transition in its politics and it is every player's right to decide what is good for themselves and their families.

  • POSTED BY KirketCrazy on | August 26, 2008, 3:39 GMT

    I am sad that this event got postponed, but to blame the entire world is not right. How can the author blame the rest of the world for the event not happening ? India, bangladesh, sri lanka all have terrorism...but all teams visited there and played there...lets be hones and call aa ace an ace...pakistan right now is more unstable than any of the above countries...And lets not say money is the reason..how much money does bangladesh cricket have to get South africa and Australia play there..?? Pakistan cricket board cant be poorer than bangladesh cricket board !!

    The perception of threat and instability is greater in pakistan..I ocassionally travel internationally to see cricket matches..Pakistan? May be not right now..The cricketers may be feeling the same

  • POSTED BY snarge on | August 26, 2008, 3:02 GMT

    "Risk is everywhere". Yes, that might be true, but do any of you recognize that there is far greater risk in some places than others? Perhaps if the last generation of Pakistani cricketers and administrators had played the game in the right spirit, there might be some sympathy. But with all the ball tampering, pitch tampering, handled ball appeals when the batsman was retrieving the ball for the bowler, sulking and refusing to play, vilification of umpires, shonky run outs, involvement in match fixing, there is no sympathy. You are no loss.

    And don't talk about Western hypocrisy. India didn't play against Pakistan for twenty years, and the first 4 world cups had to be organized so they didn't face each other.

  • POSTED BY ndayannanda on | August 26, 2008, 1:05 GMT

    This is a bitter affront and Pakistan should take a stand and not play tests or ODIs against countries which have boycotted the Champion's trophy until the tournament is held again there

  • POSTED BY promal on | August 25, 2008, 23:15 GMT

    Outstanding article, except I disagree with one point. When the bombs went off in Jaipur, Warne and co. did threaten to pull out of the IPL and said "our families are less than happy to know which part of the world we are in." I thought that was horrendously insulting and they should have been sent home immediately. But you are right, it is only the IPL money that lured them to stay on. Also, when the London 7/7 bombs happened, it was in the middle of the Ashes and the Australians never threatened to go home. It proves how racist this entire CT controversy has been. Shame on the non-Asian countries; we should never agree to tour any of those countries again. After all, they are the ones who'll go bankrupt once the BCCI boycotts them. Pakistan is completely safe; it is places like London people should be scared about where walking on the street could mean you are stabbed, or worse still, bombed.

  • POSTED BY randymcbudjuton on | August 25, 2008, 21:02 GMT

    First of all its a shame the CT has been axed, its no good for the game or its fans around the world. But the truth is Pakistan is unsafe. The players are not going to risk their lives over a game of cricket! Sure you may say that tours have happened there recently and nothing has happened, But what happens if something does? Its very unlikely but no one knows. Who's going to tell the loved ones of the players that they got killed by a bomb or they got kidnapped and killed so some terrorists wanted to get in the limelight for their cause? All for a game of cricket hey? And to all of you who say the players don't want to tour because of the money should be ashamed. If it was about the money, players would just play in the IPL for 8 weeks of the year and have the rest of the year to themselves and never represent their countries. The game is at a divide now and it doesn't look too good, its up to the boards and the ICC to step in now and help Pakistan in its time of need.

  • POSTED BY Noompa on | August 25, 2008, 20:21 GMT

    Mr. Samiuddin and a number of the readers have accused players like Graeme Smith of being hypocritical for refusing to visit Pakistan despite staying on in Jaipur post-blasts earlier this year. The monetary incentive has been cited by the very same parties as a possible reason for this double standard and if such is the case, my one question is: how is this hypocrisy? One can safely say that AT BEST, Pakistan is as safe/unsafe as Jaipur was during the IPL. It is little wonder that given the higher incentives that the IPL provided, the players were far more willing to risk life and limb then, than they are now. Why is it that the players are vilified for responding to money? After all, at the end of the day, we all respond to said incentives above all. Patriotism aside, most Pakistanis today would accept a higher paying job elsewhere and would in no way be wrong to do so. The situation confronting Pakistani cricket is upsetting, but the resultant frustration is at times misguided.

  • POSTED BY akhanni on | August 25, 2008, 18:34 GMT

    Finally someone had the courage and guts to write a article saying things as they are and stop appeasing the western block. Aussies certainly had their minds made up already to not visit Pakistan. Pak, India and Sri Lanka really need to make a point and oplay triangular series in Pakistan. I am sure it will be as successfull as Asia cup.

  • POSTED BY Jupiter_Uranus on | August 25, 2008, 18:18 GMT

    For those who compare it with India, I would not recommend even Indian players playing a match in Kashmir. Also, Pakistan's ISI and military, which is supposed to provide security have close relationship with Taliban, who have declared that westerners are legitimate target. Indian military is under strict civilian control. That is the difference.

    I see from many posts that some are like sheep that trust the butcher all the way.

    IPL is about money. People are quite naive to think idealistically. Play in Pakistan for a million dollars? YES. For thousand dollars? NO.

    How many on this forum work just for the profession not for money and risk their lives for little money? Now, that is called hypocrisy.

    Bush visited for one day, but the tourney consists of more than 100 players staying for around 15 days, playing in the same ground for hours, not the same. A security officer from Pakistan recently asked about contingency against rocket attacks during a match. Now that's security

  • POSTED BY sulemanp on | August 25, 2008, 17:51 GMT

    Sami, Thanks for the article. Cricket has never been attacked in Pakistan, but it was attacked and many times threats were issued to attack the stadiums and matches in India.

    You are right, throw some dollars in front of the players. Many people are even going to Iraq for some money.

  • POSTED BY crcketblaster on | August 25, 2008, 16:39 GMT

    This article is completely ridiculous.The author tries to say that security situation is same in india as well as pakistan.pakistan is only the size of two indian states(india has 26 states) and everyday we hear about two or three bombings from pakistan.Even people from pakistan agrees that security is much better than india.In india ,there are possibly one or two blasts happening(triggered by pakistani intelligence though)..It is stupid to compare india's security with pakistan..very bad article though..No one with a sane mind will put themselves in harm's way.So all the non asian countries have done the right thing.Let pakistan clear out all their security issues first and then they can think about hosting matches.

  • POSTED BY omer_admani on | August 25, 2008, 16:36 GMT

    Wasn't it even George W Bush who visited Pakistan under presidential level of security? Meanwhile, Pakistan also needs to build a stronger team and sporting pitches (as Kamran points) to be able to make it a better experience for players and viewers to look forward to a tournament in Pakistan. If the tournament is bland for the players and viewers, then this can obviously add to the players' unwillingness to travel to Pakistan. If the sporting experience is high quality, there is a better chance that teams would be willing to visit.

  • POSTED BY brianbrain on | August 25, 2008, 15:37 GMT

    India is not a million miles away and doesn't seem to have a problem with attracting players.Perhaps Pakistan should hold a twenty twenty competiton, i expect if the money was there so would be the players.

  • POSTED BY mobi on | August 25, 2008, 15:31 GMT

    Interesting read. I really dont give if the tournament goes on or not, but a small and simple question for Mr.Rahul. Which bubble do you live in sir?

  • POSTED BY aswattama on | August 25, 2008, 14:52 GMT

    So from the 'coalition of the willing' that was eager to go into a country comes a 'coalition of the unwilling' that hesitates to enter another. And its all in the name of security. Both coalitions were preceded by an expert group that were invited in and cooperated with - and both these expert groups FOUND NO BOMBS!! And both were overruled thanks to populist panic-mongering. It IS undisputable that London, Melbourne, Georgetown and Cape Town are far safer cities to live in, than Mumbai, Colombo or Lahore. Thats just the nature of life. But when you erect high walls around these ghettos of crime and poverty, you must realize that every wall has two sides. You are condemning those inside to stereotype and isolation as much as you are protecting those outside. Or wait - one can even argue that given that there are 1.5 bn people on one side of those walls and barely 100m on the other - its a moot point regarding who's on the inside and who's on the outside.

  • POSTED BY RandomTalk on | August 25, 2008, 14:20 GMT

    A totally innocuous, insipid tournament gets a shot in the arm by political manoeuvrings. Just disband the CT altogether. Even players feel it is a completely pointless tournament in an already clustered schedule.

  • POSTED BY wiley1982 on | August 25, 2008, 13:57 GMT

    A FANTASTIC Article...it is a crisp representation of the boorishness by which the Aussies rule cricket....the reason I single out the so called "Leaders" is because they had set a precedence years back for others to follow...This unprecedented step by ICC just proves that India might be the biggest market for Cricket but Australia has the biggest SAY....It was refreshing to see India's support for Pakistan as the Asian block needs to regroup and stand tall to ward off the domination of the Aussies and their FOLLOWERS...I feel pakistan has been hard done by this dubious decision and if a stand is not taken soon against the Aussies, I fear more Asian countries will be left to host tournaments "some time in the future".

  • POSTED BY r1m2 on | August 25, 2008, 13:48 GMT

    I think it's safe to assume death of CRICKET is nigh. ICC was losing ground fast even under Speed, and under the inexperience of Lorgat they're on an unstoppable downward spiral. I don't recall the last time Pakistan played a tests series against a top team or even a significant ODI tournament. Pakistan had been one of the top cricket nations by merit. They had some exciting cricketers to look forward to. This might even be a conspiracy by the non-Asian block to lower the strength of the Asian teams. SAfrica's unnecessary stupidity shows they're no friend of Asia. Pakistan since separation has never seen a year pass without bombs taking unnecessary lives. Yet, many tours to Pakistan have taken place amidst the violence. Not everyone is the same, as Hayden and Watson had shown their willingness to tour. Can't help but feel money is the only cause of moral/emotional dilemma for most of these modern cricketers. Anywhere, they will surely go; only, if someone could show them the dough.

  • POSTED BY plumbunion on | August 25, 2008, 13:39 GMT

    First of all, my heart-felt condolences to Pakistan. The decision to cancel the CT is indeed a major blow, not just for Pakistan, but also for cricket fans worldwide. The peoples in the Asian sub-continent are used to living in the midst of terror. As unfortunate as it sounds and is, news of a bomb blast does not surprise too many (given the frequency of such occurrences). Not so, in many parts of the world. Given this, I am not surprised at what happened. Osman seems to have a problem with players who turned up for the IPL in Jaipur, but are not willing to risk it at the CT in Pakistan. Honestly, I don't think the players can be blamed for picking and choosing where they wish to play. Osman himself is probably not working for charity. I don't know why it should be any different for the players. While I understand Osman's and Pakistan's position, it can't be denied that the conditions in Pakistan are sub-optimal at the moment. That needs to be addressed first and foremost.

  • POSTED BY Stylish_Batsman on | August 25, 2008, 13:38 GMT

    There is no security issue but simply its a war against asian nations and BCCI and its all about money. One of the main reason being India is rising and is unstopable so it is cause of concern and worry for western nations and the main example success of IPL.

    Southafrican's are hypocrites rightly said by osman. Never mind Pakistan come on face these turbulent situations head-on when no one is with you but remeber you have always came out from such situations and outclassed all these nations in past.

  • POSTED BY salmanzaffar on | August 25, 2008, 13:34 GMT

    I think Osman has expressed the point he wanted to make,beautifully and I endorse his comments and opinions fully as a cricket lover........................the fact however remains that unfortunately Pakistan has been sort of labelled as a 'hard area' by foriegn professionals. People working here for scandinavian telecom giants or Chinese power companies charge more than those who are sent to some other places of the world.....the article urges Aussies or SA's cricketers to do stuff for Cricket's sake........i'd just say they are probably too darn professional to think that way....maybe more money is not the answer just mockingly......maybe it seriously is the answer!

  • POSTED BY saby1 on | August 25, 2008, 13:13 GMT

    As expected they made their minds b4 of not coming to pak i dont know wat else we have to do to satisfy non asian teams they are ready to play india even if bomb blast take place but not pak this is not fair with us

  • POSTED BY SumantB on | August 25, 2008, 13:06 GMT

    I can quite understand Pakistan's frustration at being denied this tournament. But, expecting international cricketers to put themselves in harms way in order to change conditions in Pakistan as Osman insinuates is expecting too much. Pakistan and Pakistanis need to clean up their act. Further, comparing conditions in Pakistan with what happened in Jaipur is stretching it a bit.

  • POSTED BY OliverChettle on | August 25, 2008, 12:56 GMT

    You accuse the players of having closed minds. Well, they certainly should have closed their minds to experts who they knew had been hired to try to talk them into competing. These security reports are meaningless if there remit is not to inform the players, but to cajole them into doing what the authorities want. They were acting as advocates for the tournament organisers, not as truly objective experts concerned with player welfare. Well done to the players who refused to be taken in by this cynical ploy.

  • POSTED BY schak82 on | August 25, 2008, 12:50 GMT

    I have already made comment on Sambit Bal's article but felt that more needed to be said here. If I could, I would like to ask the boards that have backed away from the Champions Trophy where was this pressure when Zimbabwe became a problem. Then they all said since India supported Zimbabwe nothing could be done. But now India has supported the PCB: now what? What more do you need? It just goes to show the hopeless state that the ICC has fallen into when even its most powerful group can not put together a tournament in a cricket-fanantic nation like Pakistan. If only the PCB had the dollars to shine at the players...

  • POSTED BY cricdb on | August 25, 2008, 12:07 GMT

    Osman?, these cricketers from England, Australia, New Zealand are the normal personalities of their countries who are living their lives calmly and smoothly they never felt and experienced such happening which is actually habitual in our country. For us we have different points of concern whereas these people having different points of concern. I personally severely hit by ICC's decision, but honestly this is a very right decision. PCB should not bargain their safety which is infact is a risk to own. So let the political state cool down first.

  • POSTED BY anilsaxena on | August 25, 2008, 12:06 GMT

    Dear OS, I can understand the pain it caused to you and cricket fan in Pakistan but please do not compare Pakistan with India we don't have terrorist camp operating here and neither we train people to bomb in other part of world.

  • POSTED BY msaini on | August 25, 2008, 12:00 GMT

    Osman what you have said is valid from Pakistan's point of view however, at the end of the day it is cricket tournament - to be enjoyed by players, families of players and us the fans. How can the players play and train if they don't feel secure (even if they actually are). If the tour went ahead and something did happen what words would you write to their families? Fact is its dangerous place - it has been dangerous for over ten years and not many of the us sitting in our lounges would want to work over there, why should they? Considering especially that most of these players have little or no cultural knowledge and experience of such countries and their views are heavily influenced by western media. I don't blame them for not leaving there comfort zone. Sometimes better to be safe than sorry.

  • POSTED BY abdullahbham on | August 25, 2008, 11:56 GMT

    i am just wondering what would happen if bcci decides to co-host the ipl champions league in december with pakistan. what would the so called "security feared" players do?

  • POSTED BY asifali on | August 25, 2008, 11:35 GMT

    its actually a fair decision according to me, as we have seen so much trouble in the region even we have seen the Asia Cup there, so much less crowd attended the matches.we can only hope by the next year things will be changed.even we were quite bored with 50 overs matches, i hope they will modify the game to 25 overs two innings kind of matches, that would be interesting.

  • POSTED BY ranga on | August 25, 2008, 11:14 GMT

    A PRECEDENT IS SET when a country decides not to visit another country on the grounds that it is unsafe to play. Will the players refuse to play IPL (in fact there was bombing in Jaipur during IPL. The players agreed to wear black armbands as mark of respect) if there is bombing in India?

    All these unsafe conditions can happen in any country, any time? Let cricket continue without any ill will and reduce the tensions.

  • POSTED BY raj_ on | August 25, 2008, 11:10 GMT

    boo hoo Mr Osman, First make conditions suitable for teams to visit. We asians have a "chalta hai" attitude...does not mean we should expect the same off everyone. as for SA hypocrisy, maybe they experienced first hand the situation and would not like to risk teir lives again - think about it they gave u guys a chance and u did nothing to make things better...so dont be bitter.

  • POSTED BY dj-adnan on | August 25, 2008, 11:09 GMT

    The potential Prime Minister in question did not have the state-level security which was promised for the touring teams. They are and were effective, which is why the President survived the attempts on his life. On the contrary, the lapse of security was evident in the West Indies when the Pakistani coach was murdered during the World Cup 2007.

    As for players' concern about their security, well, what about the players still willing to visit India for the IPL and the Test tour next month? There was a blast in Jaipur during the IPL and several more followed in India. I dont say it is reason enough to boycott India, but again, with extra dollars at stake, the players including the mighty Aussies can actually risk their well-being. A bomb can go off anywhere and can harm anyone and I dont think that the terrosists are less influential in India than they are in Pakistan. The refusals are only making the world loose the war on terror.

  • POSTED BY tooyt on | August 25, 2008, 11:05 GMT

    I think The ICC should ban the teams barring from the CT.No Problem to NON-Asian Nations but definitely devastating and heartbreaking to Pakistan

  • POSTED BY dasilva on | August 25, 2008, 10:37 GMT

    As an Australian, I find the decision by Australian cricketer disgraceful. How can they say that they are more likely target for terrorism then India who has toured them before.

  • POSTED BY cricketdevil on | August 25, 2008, 10:19 GMT

    i am a west indian and i must say that iam really diaspointed i was really looking foward to the tournament.cricket is the only thing that keep me going it is what motivate me and when i heard the news i was really devastated i am seventeen years old.

  • POSTED BY DAN22 on | August 25, 2008, 10:18 GMT

    I would like to ask the non-Pakistani fans who have written here one simple question...If their organisation asks them to go to Pakistan for a business deal how many of them would be ready? If it was money that everyone was crazy about then the Aussies wouldnt have been touring Bangladesh or the non-Asian countries wouldnt have been touring Sri Lanka and India (for a test series) so regularly.

    The Asian bloc, led by India has routinely blackmailed the ICC to do their bidding and now that the non-Asian countries have ganged up on one of us why do we squeal.

    In this case I believe the exception proves the rule. The fact that countries are willing to tour India, Bangladesh and SL proves that they had genuine concerns (whether based on reality or perception). Pakistan would need to work on the way the world sees them and thats not going to be an easy task.

  • POSTED BY debugger on | August 25, 2008, 10:11 GMT

    People should understand that along with the players, the security of the spectators should also be taken into consideration. I don't see many people turning up for the matches. I wonder how Pakistan will benefit with hosting a mega event with just a handful of spectators to see the matches. It would be even more farcial than the world cup in the west indies. This decision is taken in the best interest of cricket and that of Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY Mythsmoke on | August 25, 2008, 9:54 GMT

    Let me try to put it another way. Saudi Arabia is also on the Australian Foreign Office's "avoid-travel-at-all costs" list. Do you know how many weekly flights end up Riyadh from Sydney? Do you know how many Australians live in Saudi? Do you also know that in 2006 there was a terrorist attack in ABB in Dammam in which an Australian killed in an office? The Aussie foreign minister at the time was asked if he would advise against travel to Saudi. He said "well we should be cautious but knowing the way Aussies are it should be fine" - I might have paraphrased what he said. I don't exactly see my Aussie neighbors breaking the door down and running for the airport. Maybe it's the money that keeps them here? But no - how can an anti-secular, nondemocratic country like Saudi be overflowing with whites. So lets not be naïve here, it is about the money. Lawson played here at a time when the soviets threatened "wipe Pakistan off the map of the earth".

  • POSTED BY NumberXI on | August 25, 2008, 9:51 GMT

    Osman Samiuddin's article is probably a heartfelt expression of the pain Pakistan feels about the postponement of the CT. But what is interesting is the position that individual cricketers, who have never visited Pakistan, took on the prevailing situation there. Like Osman S points out, they made up their minds that it was dangerous to go to Pakistan, and there was nothing which would convince them otherwise. What they based their perceptions on is a bit of a mystery. Though, when one considers that there were nations which believed in the presence of WMDs in Iraq merely because the newspapers were asked to report as much, it is not that much of a surprise.

  • POSTED BY Mythsmoke on | August 25, 2008, 9:49 GMT

    There will be the usual recriminations on why in India but why not in Pakistan. Frankly it doesn't matter whether one is secular, religious, regressive, progressive, anal retentive blah blah. So lets not parade this shallow rubbish to justify why one country and why not another. What is more powerful than anything else is perception and unfortunately that cuts both ways: to Pakistanis the white players are money hungry whores, to the white players Pakistan is a medieval country where we shoot or blow pigs/whites for entertainment.At a time when the ICC members are supposedly working on spreading the game to new countries, they are happily killing it off in another. One can argue that the recent riches in the game have no role to play in the decisions made, but the other way to look at it is: "If I can make hundred of thousands of dollars through endorsements, and the odd half-assed corporate- sponsored tournament, why do I need to put in the hard grinds of travelling to Pakistan or put

  • POSTED BY Indopakview on | August 25, 2008, 9:38 GMT

    ICC helped kill cricket in Zimbabwe and now they are trying their best to destroy cricket in Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY adnan_butt on | August 25, 2008, 9:34 GMT

    An excellent article and i have no doubt in calling this article the voice of 160 million Pakistanis out there...and the first for lines say it all

    "Unless you live in Pakistan, or have been here through the madness of the last year or so, it will be impossible to understand the despondency the decision to postpone the Champions Trophy is likely to cause."

  • POSTED BY chor123 on | August 25, 2008, 9:30 GMT

    A very good article indeed. What i don't understand is that when the July 7 bombing in England occured Australia were playing there and made a decision to continue playing. Why? Was that to show the unity of foreigners. Was that not scary enough? And for Mr. Krissh who has posted above writing about assasinations of prime ministers and all. Dont involve politics with sports. Pakistan is not the only contry where a big political leader has been assasinated. So please , thats not an excuse. I am a pakistani and i have nothing to look forward to in cricket. We play a test series in Nov and then the next is in Nov 2009. It seems like players like Misbah Ul Haq will be wasted due to this and Pakistan will of similar to what West Indies is. Australia hasnt come for like 10 years and they are scared like we murdered there forefathers.

  • POSTED BY Uranium on | August 25, 2008, 9:26 GMT

    Its simple: You can't be angry at someone for not trusting you. Regarding their own safety, people should not be forced to do things they aren't comfortable with.

  • POSTED BY dadvoc on | August 25, 2008, 9:14 GMT

    I am Pakistani, and this decision of ICC has not offended me one bit. It is better to host an international tournament with full-fledged squads a year later, then to do it right now with minnows around and in unfavorable circumstances.

    Talking about the 2 Champion Trophies consecutively, I don't think it's a big deal. As long as it doesn't effect the ICC touring schedule, its fine.

  • POSTED BY ajetti on | August 25, 2008, 8:58 GMT

    Its a pity that the Champions Trophy has been postponed. I am an Indian and I feel sorry for my fellow cricket lovers not only in Pakistan but also in all the cricket playing nations. Who wouldn't want to see Australia play India, South Africa and the Pietersen-led English team? While I wouldn't wish a racial divide in this wonderful sport, it does seem rather plain that all the non-Asian teams seem very biased against Pakistan. India toured Pakistan after a long time and I was very apprehensive how they would be received there knowing very well about the hostility between the neighbours over Kashmir since 1947. My fears were dispelled after seeing the warmth of the Pakistanis. Not only the players but also the media and fans were treated like royalty, no less. It was so heart-warming. The security provided was the best bar none. I wish common sense prevails and the championship goes ahead in Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY keithmurraykeith on | August 25, 2008, 8:43 GMT

    Ragzus, Rahul - agree completely. It is a terrible shame that Pakistan has missed out on this opportunity, but it would be a bigger tragedy if Pakistanis took the decision to postpone the tournament personally. Of course there was no intent on the part of the players or their respective boards to 'marginalize' Pakistan. Simply, it is a perilous place for foreigners, hence the competition must not go on. It is a shame, but unavoidable.

  • POSTED BY Wags on | August 25, 2008, 8:30 GMT

    A really good article. A very good example of inconsistency & hypocricy is SA pulling out. If they feel unsafe of current situtation in Pakistan, then why didn't the team leave immediately during their last tour ? All I want to say is ICC should have penalised the teams pulling out of CT. The good part is (some people would term it influential) India is with Pakistan and supporting its neighbour wherever it can. Really feel sad for our neighbour's cricket lovers. Not to worry, we will be touring pretty soon !!

  • POSTED BY raghavmadan on | August 25, 2008, 8:08 GMT

    This is going to have a devastating effect on Pakistan cricket. Already, standards seem to be deteriorating. Not playing test cricket for an entire calender year, and having sham tours of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will not provide the players with the critical international exposure that is required. Although I don't see Pakistan cricket going in the Zimbabwe direction, the signs are not good. The number of test playing nations, it seems, is decreasing day by day. It has reduced from 10 to 8 now, and that includes Bangladesh. Unfortunately, the ECB and Australian boards see this as an increase in their influence over International cricket. Pathetic

  • POSTED BY Krissh_M on | August 25, 2008, 8:03 GMT

    When a potential prime minister could not be saved from death and the heavily guarded president could only escape assassination attempts, it definitely raises concern for foreign players to tour Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY Sudhey on | August 25, 2008, 7:29 GMT

    I could not have agreed with you more on this, Mr. Osman. The double standards adopted by the non-Asian teams are a disgrace to say the least. Why, when I, being an Indian, can clearly see this hypocrisy, I can only imagine what would be going on in the minds of the Pakistani fans right now. Clearly, these teams and their players are interested more in the money than in cricket and its promotion. How can these players possibly be under any sort of threat when Indian players had recently competed in the Asia cup and there wasn't even a single crowd incident even after the match in which the home team was beaten comprehensively.

  • POSTED BY jojoji on | August 25, 2008, 7:25 GMT

    A very thoughtful and excellent article Osman. These people can never understand the frustration and disappointment caused by the decision.

  • POSTED BY redneck on | August 25, 2008, 7:22 GMT

    its a shame that the champions trophy was put off till next year and it must suck being a pakistan cricket lover at the momment but theres no reason if the terrorist bombings stop that the CT wont go ahead in pakistan next year! espechally if the pak v india series shows how effective the security measures put in place by pakistan are.

  • POSTED BY Fej21 on | August 25, 2008, 7:17 GMT

    With regards to the point about SA - perhaps it's not that they are pulling out in spite of the turbulent situation in which they last toured, but because of it. In the west, our media is full of reports of our soldiers and aid workers being hurt, killed, kidnapped... As much as i sympathize with the Pakistani situation, can you imagine persuading a man to leave to the comfort and security of his home and family for what is seen as such a dangerous region of the world for a game of sport? Whether it is fair or not, it seems inevitable that such an effort would fail.

    I hope that other ways can be found to support Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY ragzus on | August 25, 2008, 7:04 GMT

    Cricket might just be a sport, or just another form of entertainment, but it is reflective of the state of affairs of a country. When every thing else goes to hell, how can any one ignore the things around & play cricket? It makes utterly no sense that cricket has to be played in a country like Pakistan, where living another day without an incidence is a big question mark. With the current situation, why would any one want to risk getting thousands of people into one place to become easy target for terrorists?

    I'm totally in agreement with other countries for not wanting to play cricket in pakistan, not withstanding the security arrangements.

  • POSTED BY Rahul_crick_talk on | August 25, 2008, 6:53 GMT

    In India, we have a stable government of 60 years with the word democracy entrenched in our constitution. Because India is both stable and secular, countries understand that one bomb going off is not an everyday event in India. Hence playing in India is not because of the money, but because the nation has a safe environment, which non-Asian countries have come to understand. For most countries, money is not the primary motive to play in India, rather the prospect of two nations or several nations in duel is. I think international cricketers have more dignity than to go wherever the dosh is.

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  • POSTED BY Rahul_crick_talk on | August 25, 2008, 6:53 GMT

    In India, we have a stable government of 60 years with the word democracy entrenched in our constitution. Because India is both stable and secular, countries understand that one bomb going off is not an everyday event in India. Hence playing in India is not because of the money, but because the nation has a safe environment, which non-Asian countries have come to understand. For most countries, money is not the primary motive to play in India, rather the prospect of two nations or several nations in duel is. I think international cricketers have more dignity than to go wherever the dosh is.

  • POSTED BY ragzus on | August 25, 2008, 7:04 GMT

    Cricket might just be a sport, or just another form of entertainment, but it is reflective of the state of affairs of a country. When every thing else goes to hell, how can any one ignore the things around & play cricket? It makes utterly no sense that cricket has to be played in a country like Pakistan, where living another day without an incidence is a big question mark. With the current situation, why would any one want to risk getting thousands of people into one place to become easy target for terrorists?

    I'm totally in agreement with other countries for not wanting to play cricket in pakistan, not withstanding the security arrangements.

  • POSTED BY Fej21 on | August 25, 2008, 7:17 GMT

    With regards to the point about SA - perhaps it's not that they are pulling out in spite of the turbulent situation in which they last toured, but because of it. In the west, our media is full of reports of our soldiers and aid workers being hurt, killed, kidnapped... As much as i sympathize with the Pakistani situation, can you imagine persuading a man to leave to the comfort and security of his home and family for what is seen as such a dangerous region of the world for a game of sport? Whether it is fair or not, it seems inevitable that such an effort would fail.

    I hope that other ways can be found to support Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY redneck on | August 25, 2008, 7:22 GMT

    its a shame that the champions trophy was put off till next year and it must suck being a pakistan cricket lover at the momment but theres no reason if the terrorist bombings stop that the CT wont go ahead in pakistan next year! espechally if the pak v india series shows how effective the security measures put in place by pakistan are.

  • POSTED BY jojoji on | August 25, 2008, 7:25 GMT

    A very thoughtful and excellent article Osman. These people can never understand the frustration and disappointment caused by the decision.

  • POSTED BY Sudhey on | August 25, 2008, 7:29 GMT

    I could not have agreed with you more on this, Mr. Osman. The double standards adopted by the non-Asian teams are a disgrace to say the least. Why, when I, being an Indian, can clearly see this hypocrisy, I can only imagine what would be going on in the minds of the Pakistani fans right now. Clearly, these teams and their players are interested more in the money than in cricket and its promotion. How can these players possibly be under any sort of threat when Indian players had recently competed in the Asia cup and there wasn't even a single crowd incident even after the match in which the home team was beaten comprehensively.

  • POSTED BY Krissh_M on | August 25, 2008, 8:03 GMT

    When a potential prime minister could not be saved from death and the heavily guarded president could only escape assassination attempts, it definitely raises concern for foreign players to tour Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY raghavmadan on | August 25, 2008, 8:08 GMT

    This is going to have a devastating effect on Pakistan cricket. Already, standards seem to be deteriorating. Not playing test cricket for an entire calender year, and having sham tours of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will not provide the players with the critical international exposure that is required. Although I don't see Pakistan cricket going in the Zimbabwe direction, the signs are not good. The number of test playing nations, it seems, is decreasing day by day. It has reduced from 10 to 8 now, and that includes Bangladesh. Unfortunately, the ECB and Australian boards see this as an increase in their influence over International cricket. Pathetic

  • POSTED BY Wags on | August 25, 2008, 8:30 GMT

    A really good article. A very good example of inconsistency & hypocricy is SA pulling out. If they feel unsafe of current situtation in Pakistan, then why didn't the team leave immediately during their last tour ? All I want to say is ICC should have penalised the teams pulling out of CT. The good part is (some people would term it influential) India is with Pakistan and supporting its neighbour wherever it can. Really feel sad for our neighbour's cricket lovers. Not to worry, we will be touring pretty soon !!

  • POSTED BY keithmurraykeith on | August 25, 2008, 8:43 GMT

    Ragzus, Rahul - agree completely. It is a terrible shame that Pakistan has missed out on this opportunity, but it would be a bigger tragedy if Pakistanis took the decision to postpone the tournament personally. Of course there was no intent on the part of the players or their respective boards to 'marginalize' Pakistan. Simply, it is a perilous place for foreigners, hence the competition must not go on. It is a shame, but unavoidable.