March 11, 2008

An unfortunate, hard-biting reality

Ultimately, there is no clear wrong or right in this. Pakistan lose out in many ways but Australia's decision not to tour cannot be wholly and forcefully condemned
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Australia should have sent a security team to assess the situation © Getty Images
 

The blasts in Lahore came too late to affect Cricket Australia's decision to postpone the tour - in all probability that decision had been made some time ago - but they go some way in helping to understand that decision, unpalatable though it may be.

Lahore has, until this year, been gregariously safe among cities in Pakistan. Hale, hearty and welcoming people are Lahoris, rightly proud of their city's reputation as the cultural hub of Pakistan, untouched by the violence that has afflicted other parts of the country. For cricket, it had become the main centre, often hosting the bulk of internationals for teams unwilling to travel to the North-West or Karachi.

But since the turn of the year, even Lahore, once safe, warm, hospitable Lahore, has been hit by four suicide attacks. 2007 was one of the most turbulent of Pakistan's 61 years, political uncertainty compounded by over 50 suicide attacks across the country. The rate has not lessened this year. Many people in Pakistan will tell you they do not feel as safe in their own country as they did 12 months ago. It may or may not be an irrational fear, but it is borne of irrational violence and is a fear nonetheless.

Simply put, nobody - not Pakistanis, not those outside - is sure quite what will happen in Pakistan now or in coming days and weeks. Australia's decision to not tour in 2002-03 was wrong, based as it was on fears of another country's war spilling over the border. But this time around the violence is closer to home and that much more intense and unpredictable. Privately, even PCB officials concede that they understand Australia's apprehensions.

But still many will argue, with some force, that the postponement - and it is, for all intents and purposes, a cancellation - is wrong and there is merit here as well. Australia should have sent a security team to assess the situation - that is the least they should have done.

And Geoff Lawson's words - that this might be construed a victory for terrorism over normalcy of life - carry some weight, as do the sentiments of Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman, who pointed out that cricket and cricketers have never been targeted in all the violence.

Recent visits by international sides, including South Africa and Zimbabwe, lend further weight to this argument, though the situation has worsened since the former were here. And inevitably, the 2005 Ashes series will be recalled, when Australia continued playing in England after the 7/7 terrorist attacks on the London underground. If one can argue that the background environment in both countries is at least two worlds apart, then another can say equally that it only takes one attack to derail matters.

Ultimately, there is no clear wrong or right in this. It just is and it is an unfortunate, hard-biting reality. Pakistan lose out in many ways: financial losses will be incurred and it also means that the world's best team will not have toured the country for well over a decade when and if they arrive next. Australia's decision, meanwhile, in the context of what is happening here, cannot be wholly and forcefully condemned.

 
 
Until the situation in Pakistan improves, however, some countries might want to come, some might not, which perhaps expresses the dilemma as well as it can be expressed
 

Could the Pakistan board have done more? If so, it is difficult to know precisely what, for the security situation in the country does not come under their remit. One thing they have done right is refuse to shift the series to a neutral venue, which would have reinforced the precedent that was originally set in the aftermath of 9/11. They believe that cricket can and must go on and if Australia or anyone differs, then the two shall respectfully disagree.

That stance might help their staging of the Asia Cup in June, for which India and Sri Lanka insist they will come. After that, in October, might come the real test with the Champions Trophy, when the International Cricket Council will also have a say. Until the situation in Pakistan improves, however, some countries might want to come, some might not, which perhaps expresses the dilemma as well as it can be expressed.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ptoodle on March 15, 2008, 7:09 GMT

    The fact is that Cricket is a sport and however safe or unsafe a country is it's not worth maybe losing your life to play in a war torn country. People say the terrorists have won, What a load of bull, They've lost if anything because no country will tour there, Not just us. Pakistan had the chance to play on neutral grounds again but chose not to, Well, Bad luck, Let's move onto the West Indian tour. Cheers

  • M.Y.Kasim on March 14, 2008, 16:45 GMT

    I have been suggesting for a long time that Pakistan should have agreed to tour Australia now and swap the schedule with Australia to come in November this year instead.

    This would have solved the problem since it was obvious to everybody except the stupid, inept PCB bosses that Astralians are dilly dallying and have no intention of coming whatsoever and are only wasting time.

    If that could not be arranged, than at least, PCB had time to make some other arrangement rather than running like beggers and making a laughing stock of themselves and Pakistan.

  • Bharatvarsh.. on March 14, 2008, 9:12 GMT

    Another cancelled tour by Aussies.It's becoming old,bad habit of calling tour off.Agreed,PAK is not one of safest nation to play,but under tight security,it is manageable.Aussies just seems very disinterested in tour for many reasons.Not sending their security experts to PAK clears the picture.The aussie security officials have even warned not to tour India,too,what a joke?They didn't took leaf out of IND,SA,ZIM having toured successfully without hickup.IND noticed great support,hospitality from fans ,people,others.The bottomline is over the years Aussies r reluctant not to tour in subcontinent.they tour only if certain milestones r to be acheived,like winning series in India.Steve Waugh on 2001 tour after losing test series said ,"his side was not interested in playing ODI's in India".ICC should intervene and just disqualify AUS from champions trophy 2008 in PAK.If AUS do come for C'mpions trophy,its time asian countries and others to launch protest agnst AUS for suspension/penalties

  • khmayecha on March 14, 2008, 1:05 GMT

    To tour or not to tour has many angles. Pakistan's political scenario is in doldrums and they would always try hard to see that the trip is on just to prove that its okay to be in Pakistan; and similarly the Aussies are for a change a hunted pack and thanks to india everyone is gleefully wanting to have a "go" at them. Undoubtedly they will be back in their normal clinical winning habits sooner than later. Though it would have been better for them to tour the big question would always be "What is the risk if something goes bad?" This itself is a huge deterrent. I think the Pakistani leaders should stop saying things like "Sports are out of the terrrorism list.These guys have no regard to anybody life or family - do you think they will give a thought to sportsmen. By saying such things in public - they are (knowingly or unknowingly) offering an idea to the terrorists as to where to attack next.

  • alyaly1 on March 13, 2008, 20:13 GMT

    I disagree with most of the negative comments regarding the cancellation of this tour. I'm neither an Aussie nor a Pakistani. I also disagree with Imran Khan putting the blame of the cancellation at President Musharraf feet. He's just politicizing the issue. I don't think Imran would have handled the 9/11 decision to join the war on terror with the US any differently than President Musharraf did. Colin Powell, relaying his boss's orders, didn't give Pakistan any other option. It was a clear message: "You (Pakistan) are either with us or against us". So please stop Musharraf bashing. Lack of money has nothing to do with Aussies cancelling the tour. Security of players is of utmost importance. Suicide bombers are running havoc in Pakistan. If players cannot go out of their hotel for shopping or to have a walk, then its definitely a unsafe place.

  • NormalHuman on March 13, 2008, 10:02 GMT

    Imran Khan partially is correct to say that the assassination of Bhutto played quite well on Australian minds.It is quite shocking when a front runner like "bhutto" is assassinated & the federal investigative agency is turned into rubble.It is arguable that cricket & cricketers is not on the target for terrorist,but who knows when it would b & y it shouldn't b.These & many more questions should have been at the back of mind of the Australians.I am surprised,y Pakistan did not travel 2 Australia or provided neutral venues for the series as an alternate.After all,in the current scenario Australian board has enough money,but the PCB doesn't,it was in their own interest to resolve issues rather then postpone.But,the whole system in Pakistan is at its sickening state,therefore nobody is ready to take decisions & learn to b active participants as their Indian rivals,who would not only resolve issues,but get the balance favoured in their side.Its just poor administration & thinking.

  • InLahore on March 13, 2008, 9:19 GMT

    I live in Lahore and have experienced the effects of these suicide bombings first hand.i am sad to admit that the Aussies were probably right in not wanting to visit but at the same time its ironic that Pakistan is fighting and paying for a war which does not concern us directly.This whole situation is a direct result of becoming an ally of US led war on terror.....which has been nothing but bad news for Pakistan.I hope this mess gets sorted before it is too late.

  • hawkeye2010 on March 13, 2008, 2:51 GMT

    Lets face the facts. Aussies decision to pull out was meant to be. They've already decided not to play Pakistan a long time ago. It is obvious that there not too much money involve coming to Pakistan, although there is alot playing in India (IPL / ICL). Well If Pakistan have any Pride left, they should not tour Australia until they fullfil their commitment. If in case they decide not to fullfil their promise, then Pakistan should pull out of Australian tour as well. Pakistan should show and earn their respect back as it used to be. By Being the Best in the world, so every team wants to play Pakistan. Although I hope these comments should be pass down to both boars CA and PCB. I think Pakistan Govornment should be strict and bring Strong Law and Order so people should not be scared to visit Pakistan.

  • Rooboy on March 12, 2008, 23:48 GMT

    Osman - thank you for a balanced and realistic assessment of the situation. This contrasts greatly with the narrow minded position taken by Kamran Abbasi in his blog.

    It is unfortunate that the tour was postponed/cancelled, and I can understand the frustration, even anger, of Pakistani cricket fans being denied the opportunity to see Australia tour their country. However, I would like to make a point to the people who are saying that the tour cancellation is a victory for terrorists - this may be true, but the killing of a member or members of the Australian cricket team would be a much greater victory, so I think that the decision not to tour is a sensible one.

    Let us hope that the circumstances in Pakistan normalise as soon as possible, and that Pakistan cricket does not suffer too much from the current situation, because the Pakistan side has always been one of the most exciting and flamboyant teams in international cricket.

  • mansoor1977 on March 12, 2008, 12:45 GMT

    Being a Pakistani it is sad to see Aussies not coming. But what is even more sad is to accept the truth. As a Pakistani cricketer, i will be thinking a million times before visiting a country where 13 suisidal attacks have taken 261 lives in 2 months and 12 days this year. So no real blame can be pasted on Aussies. And offcourse the Australian team would be a very high profile target and terrorists love high profile targets. With huge disappointment and sadness, i must admit that this decision is correct. And i must say to my pakistani freinds that dont really stress on asking Aussies to come to pakistan. we all know how competent our agencies are and if something God Forbids happen, it will be a scar on our faces for the rest of our lives. so play with bangladesh and pray for better conditions of our country.

  • ptoodle on March 15, 2008, 7:09 GMT

    The fact is that Cricket is a sport and however safe or unsafe a country is it's not worth maybe losing your life to play in a war torn country. People say the terrorists have won, What a load of bull, They've lost if anything because no country will tour there, Not just us. Pakistan had the chance to play on neutral grounds again but chose not to, Well, Bad luck, Let's move onto the West Indian tour. Cheers

  • M.Y.Kasim on March 14, 2008, 16:45 GMT

    I have been suggesting for a long time that Pakistan should have agreed to tour Australia now and swap the schedule with Australia to come in November this year instead.

    This would have solved the problem since it was obvious to everybody except the stupid, inept PCB bosses that Astralians are dilly dallying and have no intention of coming whatsoever and are only wasting time.

    If that could not be arranged, than at least, PCB had time to make some other arrangement rather than running like beggers and making a laughing stock of themselves and Pakistan.

  • Bharatvarsh.. on March 14, 2008, 9:12 GMT

    Another cancelled tour by Aussies.It's becoming old,bad habit of calling tour off.Agreed,PAK is not one of safest nation to play,but under tight security,it is manageable.Aussies just seems very disinterested in tour for many reasons.Not sending their security experts to PAK clears the picture.The aussie security officials have even warned not to tour India,too,what a joke?They didn't took leaf out of IND,SA,ZIM having toured successfully without hickup.IND noticed great support,hospitality from fans ,people,others.The bottomline is over the years Aussies r reluctant not to tour in subcontinent.they tour only if certain milestones r to be acheived,like winning series in India.Steve Waugh on 2001 tour after losing test series said ,"his side was not interested in playing ODI's in India".ICC should intervene and just disqualify AUS from champions trophy 2008 in PAK.If AUS do come for C'mpions trophy,its time asian countries and others to launch protest agnst AUS for suspension/penalties

  • khmayecha on March 14, 2008, 1:05 GMT

    To tour or not to tour has many angles. Pakistan's political scenario is in doldrums and they would always try hard to see that the trip is on just to prove that its okay to be in Pakistan; and similarly the Aussies are for a change a hunted pack and thanks to india everyone is gleefully wanting to have a "go" at them. Undoubtedly they will be back in their normal clinical winning habits sooner than later. Though it would have been better for them to tour the big question would always be "What is the risk if something goes bad?" This itself is a huge deterrent. I think the Pakistani leaders should stop saying things like "Sports are out of the terrrorism list.These guys have no regard to anybody life or family - do you think they will give a thought to sportsmen. By saying such things in public - they are (knowingly or unknowingly) offering an idea to the terrorists as to where to attack next.

  • alyaly1 on March 13, 2008, 20:13 GMT

    I disagree with most of the negative comments regarding the cancellation of this tour. I'm neither an Aussie nor a Pakistani. I also disagree with Imran Khan putting the blame of the cancellation at President Musharraf feet. He's just politicizing the issue. I don't think Imran would have handled the 9/11 decision to join the war on terror with the US any differently than President Musharraf did. Colin Powell, relaying his boss's orders, didn't give Pakistan any other option. It was a clear message: "You (Pakistan) are either with us or against us". So please stop Musharraf bashing. Lack of money has nothing to do with Aussies cancelling the tour. Security of players is of utmost importance. Suicide bombers are running havoc in Pakistan. If players cannot go out of their hotel for shopping or to have a walk, then its definitely a unsafe place.

  • NormalHuman on March 13, 2008, 10:02 GMT

    Imran Khan partially is correct to say that the assassination of Bhutto played quite well on Australian minds.It is quite shocking when a front runner like "bhutto" is assassinated & the federal investigative agency is turned into rubble.It is arguable that cricket & cricketers is not on the target for terrorist,but who knows when it would b & y it shouldn't b.These & many more questions should have been at the back of mind of the Australians.I am surprised,y Pakistan did not travel 2 Australia or provided neutral venues for the series as an alternate.After all,in the current scenario Australian board has enough money,but the PCB doesn't,it was in their own interest to resolve issues rather then postpone.But,the whole system in Pakistan is at its sickening state,therefore nobody is ready to take decisions & learn to b active participants as their Indian rivals,who would not only resolve issues,but get the balance favoured in their side.Its just poor administration & thinking.

  • InLahore on March 13, 2008, 9:19 GMT

    I live in Lahore and have experienced the effects of these suicide bombings first hand.i am sad to admit that the Aussies were probably right in not wanting to visit but at the same time its ironic that Pakistan is fighting and paying for a war which does not concern us directly.This whole situation is a direct result of becoming an ally of US led war on terror.....which has been nothing but bad news for Pakistan.I hope this mess gets sorted before it is too late.

  • hawkeye2010 on March 13, 2008, 2:51 GMT

    Lets face the facts. Aussies decision to pull out was meant to be. They've already decided not to play Pakistan a long time ago. It is obvious that there not too much money involve coming to Pakistan, although there is alot playing in India (IPL / ICL). Well If Pakistan have any Pride left, they should not tour Australia until they fullfil their commitment. If in case they decide not to fullfil their promise, then Pakistan should pull out of Australian tour as well. Pakistan should show and earn their respect back as it used to be. By Being the Best in the world, so every team wants to play Pakistan. Although I hope these comments should be pass down to both boars CA and PCB. I think Pakistan Govornment should be strict and bring Strong Law and Order so people should not be scared to visit Pakistan.

  • Rooboy on March 12, 2008, 23:48 GMT

    Osman - thank you for a balanced and realistic assessment of the situation. This contrasts greatly with the narrow minded position taken by Kamran Abbasi in his blog.

    It is unfortunate that the tour was postponed/cancelled, and I can understand the frustration, even anger, of Pakistani cricket fans being denied the opportunity to see Australia tour their country. However, I would like to make a point to the people who are saying that the tour cancellation is a victory for terrorists - this may be true, but the killing of a member or members of the Australian cricket team would be a much greater victory, so I think that the decision not to tour is a sensible one.

    Let us hope that the circumstances in Pakistan normalise as soon as possible, and that Pakistan cricket does not suffer too much from the current situation, because the Pakistan side has always been one of the most exciting and flamboyant teams in international cricket.

  • mansoor1977 on March 12, 2008, 12:45 GMT

    Being a Pakistani it is sad to see Aussies not coming. But what is even more sad is to accept the truth. As a Pakistani cricketer, i will be thinking a million times before visiting a country where 13 suisidal attacks have taken 261 lives in 2 months and 12 days this year. So no real blame can be pasted on Aussies. And offcourse the Australian team would be a very high profile target and terrorists love high profile targets. With huge disappointment and sadness, i must admit that this decision is correct. And i must say to my pakistani freinds that dont really stress on asking Aussies to come to pakistan. we all know how competent our agencies are and if something God Forbids happen, it will be a scar on our faces for the rest of our lives. so play with bangladesh and pray for better conditions of our country.

  • don69 on March 12, 2008, 10:52 GMT

    I am an Aussie, but I do not agree with this decision. Pakistan is in turmoil and there is no doubt comparisons to England in 2005 are irrelevant. However, there is no direct threat to cricketers or Australians, just a general threat to everyone. In such a case CA should have let the players decide if they want to go. Many Australian cricketers would have said no - Symonds, Lee and Ponting are among them. Some would have jumped at the chance to represent their country. The fact that the tour was set against both IPL and ICL obviously didn't help. This means Australia would have sent a second string side, and it could have been called an "A" side, but it would still have been a representative side, would still present good cricket and would mean Pakistanis have cricket to watch (and let's face it, Pakistani crowds come to watch their own perform, and not the Aussies). The main tour could still be rescheduled to 2009 or 2010. Completely pulling out sends out the wrong message.

  • Mythsmoke on March 12, 2008, 10:04 GMT

    I think Pakistan Cricket needs to show some pride. We have a proud tradition of fearsome fast bowlers and fearless batsmen that made us a force against the best side (arguably) in recent times...the West Indies. The board needs to tell its players....go out to the ICL or IPL and show the world your skills. Show them that world cricket is poorer without Pakistan. They will come to us....but for that we need show pride and display skills that made us the force we were. Its no good wallowing on this situation. Pakistan Cricket needs strong characters and strong players. As for the tour to Australia next year.....well, the world is not a safe place anymore.....

  • nallan on March 12, 2008, 6:58 GMT

    A very nice article.One should apreciate the concern of aussies after lahore tragidy .Though they may not target cricketers, the concern that they might cannot be ruled out.I agree with the views of omer admani that pakistan can visit australia now & later aussies can visit them later when situation improves which is bound to happen after democratically elected govt. starts functioning.

  • leeandtait on March 12, 2008, 4:52 GMT

    A brilliant article. The best I have read on cricinfo. This article reports the FACTS of the situation and is not tainted by predujice and passion. I have read many articles by writers from the sub-continent and have been disappointed by the hateful accusations against Australia. They are unfair and wrong. It is extremley disappointing that the cricket-loving people of Pakistan will not get to see the Aussies. You cannot blame the PCB or CA for trying to protect the players. This situation is brought about by a world in crises and a country that seems to bear the brunt of it. Hopefully one day this series will be played in Pakistan, with both teams at full strength, so the Pakistani people can rejoice about something. Hopefully Pakistan tours Australia because there are many Pakistani people here too. It is yet another sad day for cricket and for Pakistan.

  • Shane75 on March 12, 2008, 3:52 GMT

    This is indeed disappointing. Aussie fans have been waiting too long for a Paki tour. Hell, I'll go! I can bat a bit and roll the arm over. Giving in to fear only makes Cricket Australia look foolish, and reflects badly on our great country as a whole.

  • MickP on March 12, 2008, 2:19 GMT

    It is important not to turn these things into a perceived affront to the Pakistani people. The vast majority of Australians are greatly sympathetic with the Pakistani people for their circumstances and the subsequent impacts. A certain amount of perspective sharing needs to take place. Pakistan is to Australians, as Australia is to Pakistanis, a very foreign place. Assurances along the lines of "..only the northwest is unsafe.." offer little peace of mind. Likewise "..cricket has never been targeted before.." is crazy - with terrorism that is unpredictable and aspires to high visibility targets. From a risk management perspective, the likelihood of a tragic event might be moderate or low but the cost would be incredibly high - not just for the persons involved but for Australia and Pakistan as nations. Even one death, of fan or player, would be too much in the name of cricket which is, after all, only a game. Lawson needs to keep that in mind when assuring perfect safety for all.

  • omer_admani on March 12, 2008, 2:01 GMT

    To some extent the fault is of our own making. Australia's decision was expected, and though I am sure fool-proof security would have been provided, their concern is still understandable if not totally justified. The question that begs though is, why didn't Pakistan just tour Australia now and Australia could have come to Pakistan in 2009? Agreed that playing on neutral venues is not a good idea, but Pakistan hasn't played a lot of cricket recently and there is not much test cricket to come. Doesn't that raise a concern...

  • bluz13 on March 12, 2008, 1:19 GMT

    It is unfortunate however perception is reality for many. When people alter their usual lifestyle it sends wrong message to terrorists. A security review may not have changed the end result but would've gone a long way to show that a good-faith attempt was made to tour. Question is who else is going to refuse coming to Pakistan? How would this effect the morale of Pakistani team and general public? These are larger questions that go beyond cricket.

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  • shahid on March 12, 2008, 0:09 GMT

    The right decision has made. But I cant understand that why people compare present situation in pakistan to London bombings in 05. In England or any other develpoed country, they have proper security systems that take care of these kind of things and they just make sure that there will not be any more incidents. But in Pakistan there is no security system. Thats why these bombings keep on happening almost every day. Cricket Australia has taken the right decision but it was taken too late.

  • iamabbas on March 11, 2008, 23:57 GMT

    I know I sound emotional when I say this, but Pakistan should refuse to tour Australia until they have honored their commitments. I feel so insulted as a Pakistani that they are not touring. I think I have had enough of Australians looking down on my compatriots, I really don't want anything to do with them until they apologize.

  • drumking88 on March 11, 2008, 23:12 GMT

    It's crucial to realise that cricket is a mental game aswell as a physical game and it's no surprise that CA have taken the action that they felt was required.

  • peter_della_penna on March 11, 2008, 23:02 GMT

    It's about time somebody wrote a piece that didn't rail on the Australians for deciding not to tour Pakistan. Many people keep claiming that no cricketers are ever targeted and that all the suicide attacks have been made on strategic targets like military and police. Well guess who is supposed to be escorting the Australian cricketers everywhere they go the entire time they would be touring? Military and police! Therefore, the Australians would by default be in harms way and should not feel in any way safe if they are surrounded by police and military personnel. After all, if cricketers are so safe and exalted as Geoff Lawson is making them out to be, then none of them should really need any protection right?

  • maani110 on March 11, 2008, 22:05 GMT

    hello! i have been a permanent reader of this site and have been following for last 5 to 6 years. i m really very sad abt the fact that oziis r not coming over to pak. but at one thought they seem to b on rite path as da situation in pak is really ver uncertain but on da other hand they at least shud have sent the security team. now we cant compare pakistan and england as the cultural difference is huge plus the general atmosphere is much more different considering the both. if aussies were there at the time of blast in london but wen there was blast in karachi new zeeland went bak meaning they dont have trust in the abilities of pakistani people. i think we shud enhance and improve our marketing strategies like the india and other nations that is why they are so strong despite all the problems. hopefully things will work out better later this year.we can just hope that.

  • Lateralis on March 11, 2008, 21:00 GMT

    I don't think Australia's decision is unpalatable at all. It's unfortuante, but easily understandable. I am quite sure CA don't mean any disrespect to Pakistan, its people or cricketers, but rate at which suicide bombings occur in Pakistan has increased markedly over the last 12 months. I don't think anyone with a sense of self preservation can blame CA for making the decision they have. Especially if, as you say, the once peaceful and safe city of Lahore is no longer peaceful nor safe. The implication of your comment is that Lahore is the safest place in Pakistan - if two suicide bombings killing more than 20 is safe, I dread to think what the unsafest regions of the country are like.

    Lastly, I think it is deeply unfair to even try and compare the 7/7 attack to the situation in Pakistan. The tube attacks were a one off, singular event that thankfully hasn't been repeated, despite the best efforts of some. However, suicide bombings in Pakistan are, regretably, not uncommon.

  • PAKISTANFAN on March 11, 2008, 20:14 GMT

    Well the most benificial and happiets persons will be the Australian Team Players who were picked up for IPL. They would have prayed for this decision since not touring pakistan becomes a blessing in a hiding for them. The most dissappointed are the fans of Pakistans who were waiting for a good contest after long time. There should be a way where we can show our disappointment and I actually want to get these comments to be read by Austalian Players and Board. Not that they care about our comments, but to make sure that they know it is for them. It would have been much better if we had a neutral venue. At least that would have brought the IPL players deeds in front of all of us.

  • kaiser1 on March 11, 2008, 20:10 GMT

    Cureent situation is a very sad scrnario looking at the pakistan team's calendar schedule' the bomb blasts came as timely as ever predicted by Australlia's concerns.I really feel pity Pakistan cricket as it is suffering and as fans we feel the heat as well.Cricket is thriving around the region but it presents a sad scenario in and for Pakistan. Internationals are participating in indian domestic format on ICl Twenty20 but can't visit for official tour of Pakistan. I really feel sad and gloomy to witness this cruelty and irony of fate about Pakistani fans' cricket and Players at large who already have't had enough chances to play tests and be legends in their own right. May God' Allah almighty save Pakistan from all of this pity and grave situation Economically as well as politically and provide wisdom to the blind terror-masters to be pious and terror-haters and save Pakistan. AMIN. Regards.

  • Wild_Type on March 11, 2008, 20:07 GMT

    Kudos Osman - glad to see some balance coming into the debate! This article is so much better than Kamran Abbasi's knee-jerk, baldy-thought-out, spleen-venting rant. At least you have realised there is a problem, compared to Kamran who lives in denial. The first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one. Well done again, Osman. - Suraj

  • Worldchamps on March 11, 2008, 19:41 GMT

    A good read and you answered the question yourself if countries should visit pakistan, when people in a country start feeling unsafe how do you expect a foreign team to visit and play a game? It is unfortunate that pakistan is losing out financially and otherwise but who exactly can they blame for it, no one. This is more of a political issue than a cricketing issue, I hope Indian team takes this matter seriously as well on their next tour to Pak.

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  • Worldchamps on March 11, 2008, 19:41 GMT

    A good read and you answered the question yourself if countries should visit pakistan, when people in a country start feeling unsafe how do you expect a foreign team to visit and play a game? It is unfortunate that pakistan is losing out financially and otherwise but who exactly can they blame for it, no one. This is more of a political issue than a cricketing issue, I hope Indian team takes this matter seriously as well on their next tour to Pak.

  • Wild_Type on March 11, 2008, 20:07 GMT

    Kudos Osman - glad to see some balance coming into the debate! This article is so much better than Kamran Abbasi's knee-jerk, baldy-thought-out, spleen-venting rant. At least you have realised there is a problem, compared to Kamran who lives in denial. The first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one. Well done again, Osman. - Suraj

  • kaiser1 on March 11, 2008, 20:10 GMT

    Cureent situation is a very sad scrnario looking at the pakistan team's calendar schedule' the bomb blasts came as timely as ever predicted by Australlia's concerns.I really feel pity Pakistan cricket as it is suffering and as fans we feel the heat as well.Cricket is thriving around the region but it presents a sad scenario in and for Pakistan. Internationals are participating in indian domestic format on ICl Twenty20 but can't visit for official tour of Pakistan. I really feel sad and gloomy to witness this cruelty and irony of fate about Pakistani fans' cricket and Players at large who already have't had enough chances to play tests and be legends in their own right. May God' Allah almighty save Pakistan from all of this pity and grave situation Economically as well as politically and provide wisdom to the blind terror-masters to be pious and terror-haters and save Pakistan. AMIN. Regards.

  • PAKISTANFAN on March 11, 2008, 20:14 GMT

    Well the most benificial and happiets persons will be the Australian Team Players who were picked up for IPL. They would have prayed for this decision since not touring pakistan becomes a blessing in a hiding for them. The most dissappointed are the fans of Pakistans who were waiting for a good contest after long time. There should be a way where we can show our disappointment and I actually want to get these comments to be read by Austalian Players and Board. Not that they care about our comments, but to make sure that they know it is for them. It would have been much better if we had a neutral venue. At least that would have brought the IPL players deeds in front of all of us.

  • Lateralis on March 11, 2008, 21:00 GMT

    I don't think Australia's decision is unpalatable at all. It's unfortuante, but easily understandable. I am quite sure CA don't mean any disrespect to Pakistan, its people or cricketers, but rate at which suicide bombings occur in Pakistan has increased markedly over the last 12 months. I don't think anyone with a sense of self preservation can blame CA for making the decision they have. Especially if, as you say, the once peaceful and safe city of Lahore is no longer peaceful nor safe. The implication of your comment is that Lahore is the safest place in Pakistan - if two suicide bombings killing more than 20 is safe, I dread to think what the unsafest regions of the country are like.

    Lastly, I think it is deeply unfair to even try and compare the 7/7 attack to the situation in Pakistan. The tube attacks were a one off, singular event that thankfully hasn't been repeated, despite the best efforts of some. However, suicide bombings in Pakistan are, regretably, not uncommon.

  • maani110 on March 11, 2008, 22:05 GMT

    hello! i have been a permanent reader of this site and have been following for last 5 to 6 years. i m really very sad abt the fact that oziis r not coming over to pak. but at one thought they seem to b on rite path as da situation in pak is really ver uncertain but on da other hand they at least shud have sent the security team. now we cant compare pakistan and england as the cultural difference is huge plus the general atmosphere is much more different considering the both. if aussies were there at the time of blast in london but wen there was blast in karachi new zeeland went bak meaning they dont have trust in the abilities of pakistani people. i think we shud enhance and improve our marketing strategies like the india and other nations that is why they are so strong despite all the problems. hopefully things will work out better later this year.we can just hope that.

  • peter_della_penna on March 11, 2008, 23:02 GMT

    It's about time somebody wrote a piece that didn't rail on the Australians for deciding not to tour Pakistan. Many people keep claiming that no cricketers are ever targeted and that all the suicide attacks have been made on strategic targets like military and police. Well guess who is supposed to be escorting the Australian cricketers everywhere they go the entire time they would be touring? Military and police! Therefore, the Australians would by default be in harms way and should not feel in any way safe if they are surrounded by police and military personnel. After all, if cricketers are so safe and exalted as Geoff Lawson is making them out to be, then none of them should really need any protection right?

  • drumking88 on March 11, 2008, 23:12 GMT

    It's crucial to realise that cricket is a mental game aswell as a physical game and it's no surprise that CA have taken the action that they felt was required.

  • iamabbas on March 11, 2008, 23:57 GMT

    I know I sound emotional when I say this, but Pakistan should refuse to tour Australia until they have honored their commitments. I feel so insulted as a Pakistani that they are not touring. I think I have had enough of Australians looking down on my compatriots, I really don't want anything to do with them until they apologize.

  • shahid on March 12, 2008, 0:09 GMT

    The right decision has made. But I cant understand that why people compare present situation in pakistan to London bombings in 05. In England or any other develpoed country, they have proper security systems that take care of these kind of things and they just make sure that there will not be any more incidents. But in Pakistan there is no security system. Thats why these bombings keep on happening almost every day. Cricket Australia has taken the right decision but it was taken too late.