August 26, 2008

The security excuse

If players' pay has ceased to be an issue to agitate about, conditions have not. At any rate, in the wake of 9/11, security is the new God before whom all must bow, and cricket is no exception
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Swaddled in security: South Africa on their visit to Pakistan in 2007 © AFP
 

In western countries, no word has become such an excuse for the absurd in the last ten years as "security". Every politician is pledged to increase it. Every general and police chief thinks this an excellent idea; every media organisation assents. Every airport is choked with dopy, leering layabouts in uniform forcing passengers to surrender their belts and shoes as they pass through X-ray machines - an annoyance about which there is a remarkable forbearance, even though the inattention is such that you could probably smuggle a howitzer through while these knuckleheads are scrutinising laptops.

One man's threat being another's opportunity, a flourishing class has emerged of high-end, hi-tech professionals to appease the post 9/11 conviction that too much security is never enough. And no member of this class ever got rich underplaying security risk, saying: "Stop being paranoid. What are you worried about?" If anything, the ability to identify small risks and perceive their potential for bigness is a badge of professional distinction. And their advice is readily accepted by administrations and organisations that wish to perceive themselves as doing the right thing by their representatives.

This template may not fit precisely the circumstances of the Champions Trophy's postponment. A country where the Kalashnikov seems less a weapon than a fashion accessory is a potentially confronting environment at the best of times. Even now, the fear is not so much that players will be a specific target of violence; it is that they only need only be in the wrong place at the wrong time to come to harm. But it is also true that the attitudes taken by Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand reflect, above all, the huge modern western discomfort with any semblance of insecurity - huge, and often daft.

Apprehensions have changed. Thirty years ago, England toured Pakistan in the wake of a military coup, and during the unruly trial of president Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto; 20 years ago, Australia toured in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of Bhutto's nemesis, General Zia ul-Haq. It is hard to believe that either tour would have taken place amid present perceptions, even if the eclipse of the discredited Musharraf by Bhutto's son-in-law promises at least a temporary respite from recent tribulations.

It is also hard to believe that exactly these same concerns will not loom just as large in a year's time, as indeed they did two years ago when Pakistan nonetheless won the right to stage the Champions Trophy. An irreducible degree of risk will attach to any cricket tour of Pakistan, as indeed to daily life itself. For as long as that pertains, Pakistan faces competing in international cricket on an essentially part-time basis, unable, like Sri Lanka in the 1980s, to host inbound tours from non-Asian competitors, at terrible cost to local cricket and its luckless, guiltless fans.

 
 
'Security concerns' have become an issue by which players' associations can demonstrate their continued relevance, by which it can be proved to cricketers that their dues still buy something
 

Pakistan, of course, has always been regarded as a bit of a hardship posting - unfairly, as it is a marvellous test of a touring cricketer's mettle. But just now, cricket values, as well as western values, are somewhat askew. By making players rich beyond the dreams of mammon, for example, the Indian Premier League has naturally increased their scope to discriminate between assignments. Only mouth almighty Andrew Symonds has so far had the nerve to say it, but every cricketer must feel the sensation in some degree: why tour Pakistan, where every bus backfire sounds ominous, when you can drop in on India, where too there are bombs but you can pull down seven figures in six weeks?

This risk business, too, is generating a new clientele. No longer are "security concerns" the sole prerogative of sovereign boards of control. In the matter of the Champions Trophy, at least as visible have been the CEOs of the players' associations, specifically Paul Marsh of Australia, Heath Mills of New Zealand, Tony Irish of South Africa, and Tim May of that amorphous entity, the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, who obtained their own security advice on conditions in Pakistan. Marsh was particularly uninhibited in public pronouncements, and well placed to be doing so. Relations between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association will be put to the test in the next year by the negotiation of a new memorandum of understanding; there was no inclination at Jolimont to place them under premature strain.

It is sometimes overlooked that players' associations have been as unsettled by the Twenty20 revolution as boards. Their business is ensuring the best possible deal for their members, yet they can take next to no credit for cricket's new multi-million-dollar milieu: it is the BCCI that has proven the players' great benefactor. But if pay has ceased to be an issue on which associations can mount a case for their existence, then conditions have not. There is little scope in cricket any longer for the bare-knuckled, table-banging shop steward; there remain opportunities for the hard-hat-wearing, clipboard-wielding OH&S man scrutinising the placement of the bollards and saying: "If you don't fix this, I'm gonna close you down." "Security concerns", then, have become an issue by which players' associations can demonstrate their continued relevance, by which it can be proved to cricketers that their dues still buy something.

For Pakistan, meanwhile, the future is bleak. "The sick man of Europe" was Tsar Nicholas I's appellation for the Ottoman Empire; the PCB has become at least the BCCI's frustratingly poorly cousin. There is no more fascinating relationship in the cricket world than that between these two countries, brought together at the ICC by mutual interests having been divided by history, culture, disputed territory and nuclear rivalry. The PCB's isolation deepens its acute reliance on BCCI patronage at a time when the BCCI might be pondering the usefulness of such a troublesome satellite, consolidating the BCCI's sphere of influence while also potentially weakening it, for not even the BCCI can afford to shrug off potentially US$90 million of penalty payments to ESPN-Star. And while security has been demonstrated to be a concern of cricketers, it is, even more so, a preoccupation of capital.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • MahendraSinghisKinng on August 28, 2008, 20:44 GMT

    Why Pak supporters are pushing other's and complaining about double standards. It is a basic individual human right to refuse something. Refusing is an option and has very valid reasons. Refusing is not an excuse here. Well some one said Terrorists dont target players. Can that person give the lives back if some thing unfortunate happens. Dont just throw words here. Who would have thought twin towers would be attacked and taken down. You never know what is going on in a brainwashed terrorist's mind. Something bad happens everywhere sometimes. But when you see something bad is happening in pakistan on a daily basis, only a fool would think about going there and making an entertainment among the bomb blasts.

    There was no need to drag this much longer. CT should have been suspended/cancelled or postponed much earlier. I am indian and i dont think this western vs asian. It has to do with Pakistan vs Human lives. Period.

  • salmanzaffar on August 27, 2008, 7:08 GMT

    As pointed out earlier this argument could go on for a while and people on both sides have valid points. The following link takes you to what Ian Chappel has to say about the issue...i think although this may not seem too out of the box by Mr Chappal, atleast it means that the show could have gone on if what he suggests was done...

    http://content-pak.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/363448.html

  • Gilliana on August 27, 2008, 0:11 GMT

    Show them the bloody money and they will say, 'what security, its all b...S... lets go'. That's the mentality.

  • Big_Chikka on August 26, 2008, 23:51 GMT

    Can't help feeling that the boards are just as much at fault as the players for refusing to tour. Living in London and having seen the effect of the London bombings, can't help feeling the ECB would have argued "the show must go on." Double standards and selective facts win out again, no surprises there!

    The following quotes on this blog sum it up: "why tour Pakistan, where every bus backfire sounds ominous, when you can drop in on India, where too there are bombs but you can pull down seven figures in six weeks, " and "years back, as a cricket crazy child I was devastated when the Aussie team consisting of my all time heroes Lillee and Greg Chappell decided to cancel their tour of India in the late 70s citing unhygienic conditions."

  • TheGonzo on August 26, 2008, 22:45 GMT

    There is currently a battle for the soul of modern Islam going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and now Pakistan. Western countries should, and by and large are, using their vast power to help the forces of moderation. Aside from being totally beyond logic, what message are these refusal to tour sending to our erswhile allies and those on the fence? That while we desire their help politically we culturally isolate them? Everyone should realise there is a pan-Islamic war in motion, and we do not abandon our allies in wartime. There is more than cricket at stake here, the show must go on.

  • universal.rampage on August 26, 2008, 22:21 GMT

    the chances of you being hurt in a mugging in South Africa are much higher than dying in a blast in Pakistan. Andrew Hall, Andrew Hudson - both South Africans, could not anticipate attacks on them. Of course, nobody runs away from New York, where 3000 people died in one day, or from London, where bomb scares and bombs are as common as Lahore. Of course, nobody runs away from Jaipur coz when players play purely for money then boards no longer jump in, and also coz Lalit Modi gave them the carrot and the stick. Its funny that as the First World takes on the fad of physical fitness with greater gutso, their moral and spiritual strength is getting weaker. Portentious ....

  • Nampally on August 26, 2008, 20:30 GMT

    Let us face it. Cricket is only a game played between the competing Nations. It has to be played in a friendly and peaceful environment. The environment in Pakistan is politically volatile and day to day living is dangerous even for the locals. Till this environment transforms there should be no international Cricket planned or staged in Pakistan. ICI must understand this as the basic necessity and not make it a political game of votes. In the current situation the venue should have been changed by ICI. Secondly planning the Champions' Trophy in Pakistan in 2009 is rather naive and irresponsible. The current political situation is volatile & hostile to the Westeners in Pakistan and is likely to remain so for long time. England, Australia, New Zealand, S.Africa or India appear to be obvious & acceptable choices. No western Cricketers will take chances with their personal safety for the sake of cricket. When will ICI understand this fundamental human safety issue in Post 9/11 world?

  • cricketrocks on August 26, 2008, 20:27 GMT

    I am an Indian, and on this issue I am with the guys who pulled out. If there is a possibility of an attack on a player, then every board has the right to keep its players away from there. It is unfair to ask players to train and perform in such conditions. Also drawing a similarity between the situation in Pakistan now to that in India, South Africa and England is just ignaorant. It is sad that Pakistan dint get to host the CT, but you have got to get your priorities right and safety and security of teams should be the first.

  • smk2652468 on August 26, 2008, 20:11 GMT

    First off, I am Pakistani. Second, I live outside the country and I don't think its safe to go back for myself, so why should people who have only toured the country in short trips think its safe? The problem here is not 'western mentality', its the fact that things sometimes get blown out of proportion by the media, such as this article. This article comes in light of the recent with drawl of South Africa from the champions trophy and potentially other teams. Again, another way for someone to have hits on their article rather than rationally and logically look at what just took place. But, why do I bother. Its main stream media.

  • iBinPharteen on August 26, 2008, 19:53 GMT

    Absolutely spot on Mr. Haigh! This article is in no way criticizing Pakistan but rather reflecting on the hypocritical mindset that exists out there in the West about Pakistan and it's cricket. Some of the readers might not have appreciated or comprehended his analogy of Kalashnikovs but he did respond to this outcry and clarified his stance. The issue is indeed a very touchy subject and there is no way any writer from any region can write a completely balanced article. Fact of the matter is we will always have difference of an opinion no matter what. Some folks think that security concerns are genuine while others think otherwise and personally I think they are all correct in their assumptions because of where cricket stands these days in terms of popularity, money and with the advent of Pro Leagues. As a Pakistani supporter I am actually disappointed and have actually lost somewhat of an interest in the game, which might be completely gone in the near future.

  • MahendraSinghisKinng on August 28, 2008, 20:44 GMT

    Why Pak supporters are pushing other's and complaining about double standards. It is a basic individual human right to refuse something. Refusing is an option and has very valid reasons. Refusing is not an excuse here. Well some one said Terrorists dont target players. Can that person give the lives back if some thing unfortunate happens. Dont just throw words here. Who would have thought twin towers would be attacked and taken down. You never know what is going on in a brainwashed terrorist's mind. Something bad happens everywhere sometimes. But when you see something bad is happening in pakistan on a daily basis, only a fool would think about going there and making an entertainment among the bomb blasts.

    There was no need to drag this much longer. CT should have been suspended/cancelled or postponed much earlier. I am indian and i dont think this western vs asian. It has to do with Pakistan vs Human lives. Period.

  • salmanzaffar on August 27, 2008, 7:08 GMT

    As pointed out earlier this argument could go on for a while and people on both sides have valid points. The following link takes you to what Ian Chappel has to say about the issue...i think although this may not seem too out of the box by Mr Chappal, atleast it means that the show could have gone on if what he suggests was done...

    http://content-pak.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/363448.html

  • Gilliana on August 27, 2008, 0:11 GMT

    Show them the bloody money and they will say, 'what security, its all b...S... lets go'. That's the mentality.

  • Big_Chikka on August 26, 2008, 23:51 GMT

    Can't help feeling that the boards are just as much at fault as the players for refusing to tour. Living in London and having seen the effect of the London bombings, can't help feeling the ECB would have argued "the show must go on." Double standards and selective facts win out again, no surprises there!

    The following quotes on this blog sum it up: "why tour Pakistan, where every bus backfire sounds ominous, when you can drop in on India, where too there are bombs but you can pull down seven figures in six weeks, " and "years back, as a cricket crazy child I was devastated when the Aussie team consisting of my all time heroes Lillee and Greg Chappell decided to cancel their tour of India in the late 70s citing unhygienic conditions."

  • TheGonzo on August 26, 2008, 22:45 GMT

    There is currently a battle for the soul of modern Islam going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and now Pakistan. Western countries should, and by and large are, using their vast power to help the forces of moderation. Aside from being totally beyond logic, what message are these refusal to tour sending to our erswhile allies and those on the fence? That while we desire their help politically we culturally isolate them? Everyone should realise there is a pan-Islamic war in motion, and we do not abandon our allies in wartime. There is more than cricket at stake here, the show must go on.

  • universal.rampage on August 26, 2008, 22:21 GMT

    the chances of you being hurt in a mugging in South Africa are much higher than dying in a blast in Pakistan. Andrew Hall, Andrew Hudson - both South Africans, could not anticipate attacks on them. Of course, nobody runs away from New York, where 3000 people died in one day, or from London, where bomb scares and bombs are as common as Lahore. Of course, nobody runs away from Jaipur coz when players play purely for money then boards no longer jump in, and also coz Lalit Modi gave them the carrot and the stick. Its funny that as the First World takes on the fad of physical fitness with greater gutso, their moral and spiritual strength is getting weaker. Portentious ....

  • Nampally on August 26, 2008, 20:30 GMT

    Let us face it. Cricket is only a game played between the competing Nations. It has to be played in a friendly and peaceful environment. The environment in Pakistan is politically volatile and day to day living is dangerous even for the locals. Till this environment transforms there should be no international Cricket planned or staged in Pakistan. ICI must understand this as the basic necessity and not make it a political game of votes. In the current situation the venue should have been changed by ICI. Secondly planning the Champions' Trophy in Pakistan in 2009 is rather naive and irresponsible. The current political situation is volatile & hostile to the Westeners in Pakistan and is likely to remain so for long time. England, Australia, New Zealand, S.Africa or India appear to be obvious & acceptable choices. No western Cricketers will take chances with their personal safety for the sake of cricket. When will ICI understand this fundamental human safety issue in Post 9/11 world?

  • cricketrocks on August 26, 2008, 20:27 GMT

    I am an Indian, and on this issue I am with the guys who pulled out. If there is a possibility of an attack on a player, then every board has the right to keep its players away from there. It is unfair to ask players to train and perform in such conditions. Also drawing a similarity between the situation in Pakistan now to that in India, South Africa and England is just ignaorant. It is sad that Pakistan dint get to host the CT, but you have got to get your priorities right and safety and security of teams should be the first.

  • smk2652468 on August 26, 2008, 20:11 GMT

    First off, I am Pakistani. Second, I live outside the country and I don't think its safe to go back for myself, so why should people who have only toured the country in short trips think its safe? The problem here is not 'western mentality', its the fact that things sometimes get blown out of proportion by the media, such as this article. This article comes in light of the recent with drawl of South Africa from the champions trophy and potentially other teams. Again, another way for someone to have hits on their article rather than rationally and logically look at what just took place. But, why do I bother. Its main stream media.

  • iBinPharteen on August 26, 2008, 19:53 GMT

    Absolutely spot on Mr. Haigh! This article is in no way criticizing Pakistan but rather reflecting on the hypocritical mindset that exists out there in the West about Pakistan and it's cricket. Some of the readers might not have appreciated or comprehended his analogy of Kalashnikovs but he did respond to this outcry and clarified his stance. The issue is indeed a very touchy subject and there is no way any writer from any region can write a completely balanced article. Fact of the matter is we will always have difference of an opinion no matter what. Some folks think that security concerns are genuine while others think otherwise and personally I think they are all correct in their assumptions because of where cricket stands these days in terms of popularity, money and with the advent of Pro Leagues. As a Pakistani supporter I am actually disappointed and have actually lost somewhat of an interest in the game, which might be completely gone in the near future.

  • boshyd on August 26, 2008, 18:50 GMT

    "Australia toured in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of Bhutto's nemesis, General Zia ul-Haq."

    I think the plane crash that killed the General was an accident. To call it an assassination is ridiculous, unless you want to believe the conspiracy theories. These are sort of western media articles that exaggerate the dangers in the subcontinent.

  • ScottWozniak on August 26, 2008, 18:45 GMT

    Well I yawned my way through this article and eventually got to the end thankfully. Nothing here is new and nothing here is really that interesting. Say something new and interesting Mr Haigh, how about this? That the westernised countries of England, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies have 'stuck the boot in' to Pakistan and their backers the BCCI and snubbed them at the earliest opportunity in retribution for 1) allowing Zimbabwe to remain a full member when anyone with half a braincell knows they should have been demoted to Associate status and 2) for sneakily getting the Oval test result changed to a draw when they had no right whatsoever to be altering the result of a Test Match. The ICC said at the time that, that decision was taken for 'the good of Cricket internationally', that's exactly how those countries feel about travelling to Pakistan. Perhaps the PCB and the BCCI might want to think about this the next time they try and pull off another stunt like t

  • Polorky on August 26, 2008, 18:32 GMT

    This article is biased and incredibly cynical. It paints everybody involved in English, Australian, New Zealand and South African cricket as caring more about their pay packets and jobs than about their own security. They can't possibly be concerned about their safety in this politically unstable country that is currently hosting what's left of the Taliban, no it must apparently be because they are not being paid enough to be there. I know if one of my family was an international cricketer I wouldn't want them to go. Of course the fact that this is a pointless competition anyway has a part to play, but to say the these people's decision are not based primarily on security is ridiculous, cynical and rather anti-'Western'.

  • Ajay42 on August 26, 2008, 18:25 GMT

    I understand the anger but why shoot Mr Haigh? It's a well written piece and is actually critical of Western double standards, which we have learnt to live with. It's money that drives cricket now. If the IPL continues to be a hit, watch out, Sri Lanka....you will be next on the so called security radar.

  • SujithBabu on August 26, 2008, 17:54 GMT

    By any logic, Indians are more at risk in Pakisthan than anyone from the west. Indians have successfully toured Pakisthan recently for the Asia Cup. Then what is the west complaining of ?

  • Arijit_in_TO on August 26, 2008, 17:45 GMT

    One has to concede that Mr. Haigh makes valid points but some of the colourful language ("...a bit of a hardship posting") would naturally be upsetting to the Pakistani cricket faithful. Since the Pakistan test team is in a rebuilding phase post Inzamam and the Asif fiasco, it would be an easier test for the likes of England and Australia (for example) to tour the country. Even with the team far not at its zenith, Pakistan is a bloody tough place to win any sort of series; its fans deserve better and I reckon that The Champions Trophy over there would have been a good show.

  • Adyarite on August 26, 2008, 15:38 GMT

    Insurgency in Tamilnadu? Ignoramus's rule the roost. What other comments can you expect to an article that reeks of bias from every word.

  • sami1284 on August 26, 2008, 15:27 GMT

    Actually, many comments have fallen off the radar.

    The author here is actually being satirical and sarcastic saying that the "security risk" is only an excuse and the Western countries have no reservations about taking advantage of it. The author also takes a shot at the player's association which have no relevance. Once again he is sarcastic by saying that the only relevance such associations have is to assess the risk, but what risk? Its all a game.

    It gets even simpler, Westerners don't like to travel to Pakistan because they are bound to their hotels, usually can't have fun like how SA went to a club after their test series win in England. There are no bars etc. However, in India, they are able to enjoy themselves because they can do all this 'fun' stuff beyond cricket.

    IPL, ICL, Counties and astronomical amount of funds for players have given them the choice to 'pick and choose'. The boards are now less powerful than their star players who simply 'opt-out'...lol

  • KamranZahid on August 26, 2008, 14:53 GMT

    Some of the comments are crazy! Goodness me, why are they all calling this article shocking, biased and pointless? Just reading the title can tell you that Gideon is actually criticizing the new western mentality of using 'security' as an excuse for even the smallest of issues. Read this line from the article and tell me how this is biased: "Pakistan, of course, has always been regarded as a bit of a hardship posting - unfairly, as it is a marvellous test of a touring cricketer's mettle." He is actually supporting Pakistan and sympathizing with its current situation. If you guys can't take the time to read AND fully comprehend an article, then please don't take the trouble of making comments on it. Thanks Gideon for a very timely article. I hope all current western cricketers read this and feel ashamed of themselves of having become so selfish and greedy.

  • rahilkh on August 26, 2008, 13:31 GMT

    Well said! Pakistan and PCB should learn from this crisp lesson in history. We are bound to repeat it if we don't learn from it. Australia certainly won't mind repeating their now stale "security" excuse again come April 2009 when they will have to tour Pakistan.

    There's a lot of unfinished business. Some of it is the homework that Pakistan government has to do. But a lot of it is on Cricket Australia's plate.

    Cheers!

  • kiwifascist on August 26, 2008, 13:07 GMT

    Metalmilitia, pullshot and others - did you bother to read Gideon's article before going off on one? Nothing he has written here is demonstrably false and his analysis is pretty much spot on. Cricketers have always seemed reluctant to tour Pakistan, it is currently not the safest place in the world to be, and there is not enough money on offer to persuade cricketers to, in their minds, "risk their lives". The fact that the risk is negligible is irrelevant - the new security mindset amplifies what risk there is. It's a crap situation, but don't shoot the messenger. Shoot the boards and the cricketers (I don't mean literally, of course).

  • tusharkardile on August 26, 2008, 13:02 GMT

    "BCCI might be pondering the usefulness of such a troublesome satellite..." Why are you speculating over what BCCI might be thinking? Why aren't you taking a stance on the decision of boards pulling out? The same Gideon was over-critical on BCCI on its muscle flexing. Where did the venom go? Anyway as atleast a dozen commenters said earlier, this is shocking journalism. Cricinfo editors should listen to the readers rather than thrusting lopsided views on them. I am sure this in not the first time Gideon has come up with a biased (I don't want to use the R word) and useless article.

  • Metal_Militia on August 26, 2008, 11:52 GMT

    This is a shocking piece of Journalism Gideon. I wonder how your editor passed this to be published in a portal such as Cricinfo. This piece f Article is shockingly biased and meaningless to say the least. This is the perfect time or the cricket world to unite and support Pakistan, but the so called 'White' men have flexed their muscles. If BCCI flexes its muscles, it becomes a NEWS, but why isnt anybody worrying about the muscle that has been flexed here? Why didnt Australia quit their tour of England in 05? Why didnt any of the players leave India during IPL while Bombs went off in Jaipur? Why is Australia travelling to India now as there have been a couple of attacks over the past month? Why is South Africa in South Africa where if they walk out of Cape town, they may get robbed or bashed or worse killed? I think Andrew Hudson got robbed, didnt he?? Isnt that a security risk? Why is there such a Hypocrisy in this world and people like Gideon have the audacity to voice their opinion?

  • pullshot on August 26, 2008, 11:40 GMT

    Another one of those typical western media Analysis making mockery of a country that is trying to fight for these same westerners causes.

    I have been visting pakistan for the last 30 years through good and bad times and have never experienced any violence.It is a safe country and the hospitality is second to none. Not a good article and somehow trying to tarnish the relationship of pcb and bcci. Its the same story again "divide and rule", lets split these boards". Hopefully the asian boards will stay united and as for South Africa,less said is enough.

  • nick_japan_2007 on August 26, 2008, 11:35 GMT

    Terrible article. However were my son an international cricketer I wouldn't want him to tour Pakistan. If you cannot protect a presidential candidate, then what chance do a bunch of cricketers have?

  • Percy_Fender on August 26, 2008, 11:14 GMT

    Though Pakistan has come to be seen as the home of Islamic extremism,there are few countries in the world where one comes across such warmth and hospitality. India is affected by terrorist attacks as well. But as someone has said, money and the good life is available in far greater measure in India than in Pakistan. That is very much the reason why the Australians and South Africans have no qualms about visiting India whether for the IPL matches or on official tours. There was a time when India was treated as a second rate country by the western media who were inclined to be patronising when talking about India its ancient civilisation notwithstanding. Today they are ready to lap up everything that India offers them. Yet Pakistan is too difficult a place to be in. Western hypocricy at its best.

  • r1m2 on August 26, 2008, 10:57 GMT

    This article speaks my mind quite accurately. The IPL earning potential has given cricketers an unprecedented right to discriminate against. I feel another thing that will show up more is cricketers being injured more often for non-IPL events. It would not to be the case always that they're injured enough not to be able to play. I am sure many cricketers have faked injuries to make the team and earn the living. But now they don't have to. I think Symonds is the most disgraceful person imposing himself as a cricketer in the world right now. These cricketers claiming to have higher moral authority to say anything against Zimbabwe are now turning out to be total hypocrites. They are no different than Mugabe. Mugabe's passion is also money (maybe along with power). There are a few good cricketers left in Aus, such as Hayden, Lee who are also good human beings. Most of the rest, including in England, New Zealand and South Africa are now in the game for the IPL money.

  • alexindinuk on August 26, 2008, 10:21 GMT

    As an Indian I feel for all the Pakistani cricket fans. Excuses have been touted before and will be done again in the future when certain teams want to avoid tours. Years back, as a cricket crazy child I was devastated when the Aussie team consisting of my all time heroes Lillee and Greg Chappell decided to cancel their tour of India in the late 70s citing unhygienic conditions. I have been living in UK for the last 15 years and in that period, the Aussies have visited my country more often than I have!! And oh yeah, they are coming again in October for a 4 test series.

    Forget security, health and safety issues, tight schedule etc-they are all just excuses. If your PCB had half of the dough which our BCCI has, all these ''concerns and fears' would have been thrown out of the window and you would have seen these very same cricketers appearing in your local TV channels recording songs and ads!!

  • pom_basher on August 26, 2008, 10:14 GMT

    Here comes Gideon with another pointless article. How beutifully he gives an impression that entire Pakistan - and India as well - is unsafe with bombs going off in every street, every day; and that kalashnikovs are indeed sold on the streets. And he does not put any blaim on ICC or individual cricket bodies. India strongly supported Pakistan as a venue. So is BCCI not worried about players' safetly or is it just that white countries don't bother to look at the true picture. Had is been India pulling out of a tournament, Gideon would have strongly condemned BCCI's muscle flexing, but this time he would just express his gentle sadness at excessive concern on security, and would not point any fingers...!!!!! You are being very hypocritical Gideon... WHY IS CRICINFO PUBLISHING SUCH POINTLESS ARTICLES. you better hire decent writers. We are not interested in such crap anymore.

  • Wicket_Maiden on August 26, 2008, 10:12 GMT

    Australia were in England at the time of the London bombings, i didn't see them catching the first flight home as soon as the bombs went off. This is ridiculous, and like someone else has commented, if George Bush can visit Pakistan (probably the most hated man there) then i'm sure the Australian, NZ, SA and English cricket teams can. What's really sad is that when these countries do visit Pakistan, the utmost effort is made to make their stays not only safe but also infinately comfortable. The way things are, you'd think the Pakistanis were still under colonial rule, worshipping the white man.....

  • essel1 on August 26, 2008, 10:07 GMT

    The absuridy of the situation can be analysed by three things a) The Asia cup cup took place in Pakistan in july and went off without a security concern b) Australia hasnt toured Pakistan in 10 years due to some reason or the other and the ICC is to meek to say anything c) If the ICC thinks anything will change in the next 12 months it simply means they are living in a fools world *unless they the hoping that next year they will have a more credible excuse for changing the venue of the tournment* cheers

  • GideonHaigh on August 26, 2008, 9:34 GMT

    Just before commenters head off into the streets to check on the abundance or otherwise of automatic weapons in the streets, perhaps I can clarify. The paragraph is addressed specifically to the experience of a touring cricketer in Pakistan, surrounded even in everyday circumstances by a visible security presence, rather than that of a civilian. Which, of course, has a dual impact: it instils a sense of security but also intimates a threat. You might recall that on Australia's last visit to Pakistan, two players posed for photos with guns they had borrowed from soldiers - a frivolous gesture, but also a clumsy imitation of the mores they had encountered. Anyway, as you were!

  • HussamKhan on August 26, 2008, 8:36 GMT

    I have lived in Pakistan (Karachi) for 31 years, i have never heard a gun shot (except for once or twice on a wedding, just to celebrate, we can call it a friendly fire). I have never seen anyone die. People love this game here. I think ICC must take action against these countries for refusing to play. Trust me if Bush can come to Pakistan, Australians can too for sure. Asian countries need to do something about this. If ICC cant do S__t about this issue, we need to change ICC a bit and make ACC because I think Asian countries respect this game alot more than anyone else. Security is not an issue. If Pakistan promises security to someone, trust me they mean it. I just laugh my brains out when I hear that countries like South Africa worry about security, we all know what happens outside capetown. We are not asking them to play in North Waziristan, Karachi and Lahore are beautiful and safe cities. The trouble makers are against their own government and not some cricket team. Pakistani

  • vswami on August 26, 2008, 8:35 GMT

    On the line "There is no more fascinating relationship in the cricket world than that between these two countries .... disputed territory and nuclear rivalry". Indian and Pakistan cricket boards have traditionally kept politics and cricket separate. On the contrary cricket has played a great part in thawing the often tense political relationship. Be it Gen. Zia-ul-Haq coming to Jaipur to watch a ODI, or Musharaff expressing his admiration for L.Balaji,cricket has played a great part in bringing India and Pak together. Gone is the animosity of the 1980s and before. Even during the Kargil war just 10 years ago, cricket relations were not suspended between the two countries. Mr. Haigh, you need to brush up on your history a little bit.

  • arianashok on August 26, 2008, 8:27 GMT

    rana_raza - "India is also facing insurgency in Kashmir and Tamil Nadu." Don't cook up stuff like there is insurgency in Tamil Nadu. Tamilnadu is one of the most peaceful and calm states in India. What are you talking about man?

    And please never ever compare compare India's security situation to Pakistan's. It's news in India if Bombs go off where as it's news in Pakistan if they don't everyday. There's a difference.

  • Sanks555 on August 26, 2008, 8:12 GMT

    In India, there were bomb blasts in Jaipur during IPL. Yet, none of the South African, Australian or New Zealand players left India. In fact all of them participated during the game held in Jaipur, two days after the blast. In Pakistan, there have been no blasts. This shows the players are not interested in playing, because they feel pay is not good. Give them money and they will play in Iraq. And who are the South Africans bluffing. They have the highest crime rate per 1000 people in the world.

  • zohair1111 on August 26, 2008, 7:53 GMT

    Though the situation had been bad recently and if I was leading the PCB, I would have asked for a few months delay.

    The only way out of this is by doing things on our own. Listening to Westerners will deteriorate the situation for us further.

  • awaistanveer on August 26, 2008, 7:49 GMT

    "country where the Kalashnikov seems less a weapon than a fashion accessory is a potentially confronting environment at the best of times." The statement shows that how much the writer is ill informed about Pakistan. Maybe he needs to have trip to pakistan and see how many Kalashnikovs he can find.

  • zohair1111 on August 26, 2008, 7:48 GMT

    "A country where the Kalashnikov seems less a weapon than a fashion accessory is a potentially confronting environment at the best of times."

    I cant believe someone as bigoted as you is allowed to write for this site. Before writing something so unfunny and stupid like this, you should think first. Its true militarism in Pakistan is increasing but there's no way in which everybody is holding or likes holding guns. Also consider the fact that all this militarism has occurred in Pakistan only because of foolish and short-sighted western policies. If we're to be treated like this, I don't understand what the point of following western policies is.

    About the security.. its basically become an excuse.. Australia hasnt visited in a decade because of 'security reasons whereas countries like England, South Africa, India, Sri lanka, Bangladesh have visted in the recent past. Indians being Pakistans biggest rivals, dont seem to be as scared as Australians are. What makes them so special?

  • Brendanvio on August 26, 2008, 7:46 GMT

    ' the non-asian countries continue to do things the way they have been the asian bloc must come together and they only have one option: make their own council, the ACC. have an Asian test championship, play equal # of test with each other and hold the championship every two years in my opinion. for ODIs have Asia cup. and the most important part the T20. the asian bloc should form something similar to IPL, maybe ACL. have domestic teams throughout asia including the minnows.'

    Sure, if you want to kill cricket off for good.

    How closely do you follow the game? Are you aware that cricket cannot survive without all the nations working together? How long do you think India (Defaulting with India as they are the major power in the subcontinent) will keep up interest in cricket if their only competitions will be against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh?

    Your comment comes across as delusional and ignorant, do you have any idea about the game at all?

  • longridge on August 26, 2008, 7:05 GMT

    "I have traveeled a lot acrosee Pakistan in the last 25 years and not more than twice have I seen that weapon in civilians hands."

    well, i have lived in England all my life (24 years) and travelled a good bit around various parts of Europe and not once have I seen a Kalashnikov in anybodies hands. If I was a cricketer then that would be a good enough reason for me never to go to Pakistan.

    Gideon, you can get on your high horse about all us "westerners" being a shower of sh*t houses all day long but life is too short, why risk making it shorter?

  • rana_raza on August 26, 2008, 6:47 GMT

    Pakistan is as safe as any other country. If there are a few troubled areas in Pakistan, there are troubled areas in almost every country. Take for example, China. Despite having insugency in Tibet, they staged one of the most successful olympic games of the history. India is also facing insurgency in Kashmir and Tamil Nadu. If bombs blast in Lahore or Rawalpindi, they can also blas in Madrid or London. Why all this fuss ablout security then? No doubt Pakistan is facing one of the hardest times in its history, but it does not mean that the world should leave it alone, forsaken and forlorn.

    If salaried soldiers from Australia can serve in Afghanistan, a much more dangerous place than Pakistan, then why should their cricketers, earning millions for playing cricket, not play cricket in Pakistan and make security an excuse? Are their cricketers' lives more precious than their soldiers'?

    No cricketer has ever been targeted by militants who themselves may be supporters of this game.

  • andy_cash on August 26, 2008, 5:53 GMT

    What an utterly rubbish article. What is Gideon talking about? He hasn't taken any stand and has made some random comments. How can cricinfo publish such articles!!

  • Matt_S on August 26, 2008, 4:51 GMT

    It may often be daft, but sometimes it is not:

    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/newzealand/content/story/120394.html

  • usama on August 26, 2008, 4:00 GMT

    if the non-asian countries continue to do things the way they have been the asian bloc must come together and they only have one option: make their own council, the ACC. have an Asian test championship, play equal # of test with each other and hold the championship every two years in my opinion. for ODIs have Asia cup. and the most important part the T20. the asian bloc should form something similar to IPL, maybe ACL. have domestic teams throughout asia including the minnows. trading should be allowed and use the rev to expand interest in tests. thats the way it should be done now. this way there will be no security issues. the non-asians can do whatever they want to becasue they are acting so immature. just becasue the asian bloc has shown power in the last 5 years, which is unacceptable for them, they have tried their best to break their bloc, from the oval test to security concerns to BCCI's newly formed IPL which is being criticised by many. it is time now to make cricket organized

  • JKSFB on August 26, 2008, 3:59 GMT

    I will not pretend to know much about the security conditions in Pakistan, but let me ask you this, how is a cricket team of any "western" country expected to participate in open public view in Pak where its foreign office dissuades its citizens from traveling there? I think it is true that there are double standards in general when in comes to treatment of Asian countries in cricket, but I suspect that this issue regarding the Champions trophy postponement is being blown out of proportion by Pak supporters.

  • Reid84 on August 26, 2008, 3:57 GMT

    The article started off well but seems it squarely blames India or more precisely IPL for the current situation.

    If there was no IPL, I am sure, the countries who objected to playing in Pakistan would still have maintained the stand - as they did during the WC 1996 - by not playing in Sri Lanka or in the 2003 WC - when a few teams did not play in Zimbabwe. Australia continued their Ashes tour when there was a bomb blast in London around that time.

    The players have a right to assess their own security and have the right to play or not. India is a much different country than Pakistan - its as if comparing China to the USA (though its not that extrems - but you get a picture). Everyone seems to be blaming IPL (only because it raised money) but no one is really addressing the real problem. ICC as usual is an organisation which does not have any ability. India and its board are atleast doing some service by making money for them - otherwise cricket would have long died back.

  • Zuhair on August 26, 2008, 3:45 GMT

    I am sorry Haigh, Kalashnikov aint't a fashion accessory here yet in Pakistan. I have traveeled a lot acrosee Pakistan in the last 25 years and not more than twice have I seen that weapon in civilians hands.

  • cricket4shafiq on August 26, 2008, 3:42 GMT

    " country where the Kalashnikov seems less a weapon than a fashion accessory is a potentially confronting environment at the best of times." I am in pakistan since 1980---- Dear writer, can you please inform which country are you talking about in the "---".

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  • cricket4shafiq on August 26, 2008, 3:42 GMT

    " country where the Kalashnikov seems less a weapon than a fashion accessory is a potentially confronting environment at the best of times." I am in pakistan since 1980---- Dear writer, can you please inform which country are you talking about in the "---".

  • Zuhair on August 26, 2008, 3:45 GMT

    I am sorry Haigh, Kalashnikov aint't a fashion accessory here yet in Pakistan. I have traveeled a lot acrosee Pakistan in the last 25 years and not more than twice have I seen that weapon in civilians hands.

  • Reid84 on August 26, 2008, 3:57 GMT

    The article started off well but seems it squarely blames India or more precisely IPL for the current situation.

    If there was no IPL, I am sure, the countries who objected to playing in Pakistan would still have maintained the stand - as they did during the WC 1996 - by not playing in Sri Lanka or in the 2003 WC - when a few teams did not play in Zimbabwe. Australia continued their Ashes tour when there was a bomb blast in London around that time.

    The players have a right to assess their own security and have the right to play or not. India is a much different country than Pakistan - its as if comparing China to the USA (though its not that extrems - but you get a picture). Everyone seems to be blaming IPL (only because it raised money) but no one is really addressing the real problem. ICC as usual is an organisation which does not have any ability. India and its board are atleast doing some service by making money for them - otherwise cricket would have long died back.

  • JKSFB on August 26, 2008, 3:59 GMT

    I will not pretend to know much about the security conditions in Pakistan, but let me ask you this, how is a cricket team of any "western" country expected to participate in open public view in Pak where its foreign office dissuades its citizens from traveling there? I think it is true that there are double standards in general when in comes to treatment of Asian countries in cricket, but I suspect that this issue regarding the Champions trophy postponement is being blown out of proportion by Pak supporters.

  • usama on August 26, 2008, 4:00 GMT

    if the non-asian countries continue to do things the way they have been the asian bloc must come together and they only have one option: make their own council, the ACC. have an Asian test championship, play equal # of test with each other and hold the championship every two years in my opinion. for ODIs have Asia cup. and the most important part the T20. the asian bloc should form something similar to IPL, maybe ACL. have domestic teams throughout asia including the minnows. trading should be allowed and use the rev to expand interest in tests. thats the way it should be done now. this way there will be no security issues. the non-asians can do whatever they want to becasue they are acting so immature. just becasue the asian bloc has shown power in the last 5 years, which is unacceptable for them, they have tried their best to break their bloc, from the oval test to security concerns to BCCI's newly formed IPL which is being criticised by many. it is time now to make cricket organized

  • Matt_S on August 26, 2008, 4:51 GMT

    It may often be daft, but sometimes it is not:

    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/newzealand/content/story/120394.html

  • andy_cash on August 26, 2008, 5:53 GMT

    What an utterly rubbish article. What is Gideon talking about? He hasn't taken any stand and has made some random comments. How can cricinfo publish such articles!!

  • rana_raza on August 26, 2008, 6:47 GMT

    Pakistan is as safe as any other country. If there are a few troubled areas in Pakistan, there are troubled areas in almost every country. Take for example, China. Despite having insugency in Tibet, they staged one of the most successful olympic games of the history. India is also facing insurgency in Kashmir and Tamil Nadu. If bombs blast in Lahore or Rawalpindi, they can also blas in Madrid or London. Why all this fuss ablout security then? No doubt Pakistan is facing one of the hardest times in its history, but it does not mean that the world should leave it alone, forsaken and forlorn.

    If salaried soldiers from Australia can serve in Afghanistan, a much more dangerous place than Pakistan, then why should their cricketers, earning millions for playing cricket, not play cricket in Pakistan and make security an excuse? Are their cricketers' lives more precious than their soldiers'?

    No cricketer has ever been targeted by militants who themselves may be supporters of this game.

  • longridge on August 26, 2008, 7:05 GMT

    "I have traveeled a lot acrosee Pakistan in the last 25 years and not more than twice have I seen that weapon in civilians hands."

    well, i have lived in England all my life (24 years) and travelled a good bit around various parts of Europe and not once have I seen a Kalashnikov in anybodies hands. If I was a cricketer then that would be a good enough reason for me never to go to Pakistan.

    Gideon, you can get on your high horse about all us "westerners" being a shower of sh*t houses all day long but life is too short, why risk making it shorter?

  • Brendanvio on August 26, 2008, 7:46 GMT

    ' the non-asian countries continue to do things the way they have been the asian bloc must come together and they only have one option: make their own council, the ACC. have an Asian test championship, play equal # of test with each other and hold the championship every two years in my opinion. for ODIs have Asia cup. and the most important part the T20. the asian bloc should form something similar to IPL, maybe ACL. have domestic teams throughout asia including the minnows.'

    Sure, if you want to kill cricket off for good.

    How closely do you follow the game? Are you aware that cricket cannot survive without all the nations working together? How long do you think India (Defaulting with India as they are the major power in the subcontinent) will keep up interest in cricket if their only competitions will be against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh?

    Your comment comes across as delusional and ignorant, do you have any idea about the game at all?