March 21, 2012

International cricket in Pakistan? You gotta be...

As the game's governing body, how can the ICC choose not to send its own match officials to the country but be okay with Bangladesh's players playing there?
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Age tends to harden beliefs, but it can soften them too. What was once mere conviction may evolve into rabid dogmatism - to the 18-year-old me, homophobia was a major misdemeanour; at 30 it was a crime; but by the time I was 40 it had blossomed into a fully-qualified, no-holds-barred, utterly indefensible sin. I am now a proud homophobic-phobic. Yet maturity can also, if we're lucky, transform black-and-white myopia into a keener sense of balance. So long as it doesn't descend into racism or any other form of antisocial prejudice, I'm far more tolerant of sledging now than I was in my 20s, when I advocated terminating certain Australians with the most extreme prejudice seen since a certain Austro-German was the toast of Berlin.

The same applies, in some respects, to sporting administrators and management. Once upon a time, not so terribly long ago, it was almost impossible not to see these allegedly well-meaning chaps as uniformly oblivious to the interests, needs and feelings of the players, without whom, of course, they would be less prominent than a grain of sand in the Sahara. (And chaps, as opposed to chapesses, they have invariably been, for all that Nottinghamshire have just appointed English cricket's first female chief executive, the aptly named Lisa Pursehouse).

Yet over the past couple of decades, as social norms have changed, so there have been welcome signs of enlightenment and even compassion. Salaries are far more reflective of the players' value; instead of being uniformly regarded as a threat, some, if not all, players' unions are afforded a measure of respect, and even seen, in some cases, as partners; captains put childbirth before national "duty" without fear of reprisal; technology has been adopted and adapted to enhance fairness and justice, which benefits the combatants as well as the game's credibility and image; rather than sticking to the traditional "buck up and stop feeling sorry for yourself", depression is beginning to be taken seriously - though you can't help but wonder whether the dark ages would still be with us had it not been for Marcus Trescothick's courageous honesty.

Unfortunately, such unquestionably positive developments, however small those steps have been, are countermanded by the ever-rising tide of commercialism, emphasising as it does the sanctity of the bottom line. And in straitened economic times, the gap between what is good for management and what is good for the workers is all the likelier to grow into a chasm. Witness the latest efforts to restore Pakistan as an international cricket venue.

Apparently, there has been a gross over-reaction to the proposal by its own Chief Executives Committee that the ICC should not risk sending its own employees there. That, anyway, was the somewhat knee-jerkish response of Subhan Ahmed, the Pakistan Cricket Board's chief operating officer, who waded into the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) for being over-sensitive in stating its objections to next month's proposed tour by Bangladesh, a tour about which the game's governing body appears to have sufficient reservations not to permit its elite umpires to stand. To which the only sensible response can be "What absolute tosh!" Or something along those lines that makes it absolutely clear that Mr Ahmed is talking codswallop. Still a bit too Eton-and-Harrow for you? OK, let's put it in modern global English and go brazenly for the c-word - crap.

That the ICC has apparently absolved itself of any involvement in the decision over the proposed tour does nothing to mitigate matters. Quite the opposite. In the words of a media statement issued from Dubai a fortnight ago - a press release that richly deserves instant admission to the PR Hall of Shame - the CEC "recognised that the ICC Board had determined that a decision as to whether a particular tour should take place or not is one for the participating countries". Fair enough, but only up to a point - for instance, does this laissez-faire with knobs on make the ICC Test and ODI and T20 rankings a bit of a fraud?

It was the next part of the statement that truly galled. The ICC's role, apparently, is "limited to considering the safety and security of the match officials after a tour had been confirmed and a security plan produced". In recommending that the ICC approve a "special dispensation" for "non-neutral" umpires to stand in the matches "in the event of the ICC determining that it was unsafe to appoint match officials", the CEC made the unsavoury priority all too clear.

Your average terrorist is hardly likely to target an administrator. They don't have to board the coaches and stay in the hotels and stand around a field for hours on end; they're not the sitting ducks. It isn't them who have to persuade their loved ones that going abroad to play games and fly the flag needn't necessarily mean not coming home

The subsequent comments of Mustafa Kamal, president of the Bangladesh board and the Asian Cricket Council, were inevitable, but no less pertinent or heartfelt. Yes, affirmed Mr Kamal, who had been part of a nine-man Bangladeshi delegation that approved the security plans following a briefing in Pakistan earlier this month, of course he wants cricket to "happen" in Pakistan, but "if [the ICC] don't take responsibility, then on what basis can I send my players?" Not an unreasonable question. It should be remembered, furthermore, that, when the security inspection was announced in December, the quid-pro-quo was that the PCB would endorse Kamal's candidacy as the next ICC president.

The verbal jousting had begun when Tim May, the FICA chief executive, sent out a press release wondering, among other things, how on earth the governing body can operate by such double standards, much less admit them publicly. "I am not sure how this idea even got off the ground. If the ICC cannot and will not send its officials to officiate in the series because it has been advised that it is not safe, it simply cannot contemplate any actions that will enhance the attractiveness of the series to others."

The ICC, he rightly stressed, has a duty of care. "It has a duty of care to the players of teams, the officials of teams and the general public, irrespective of whether this is a bilateral event or an ICC Event such as the World Cup. If it has specific information that Pakistan is not safe to tour, then it cannot and should not send a message out to these stakeholders that ICC not only recognises this series, but has gone out of way to change its own Playing Conditions so it may endorse and promote this series."

Now let's go back to that riposte from Mr Ahmed. "FICA always has rigid views sitting thousands of miles away," he moaned on this site. "This is one of the reasons why we don't recognise and endorse FICA at any level. They [FICA] should restrict their comments to those countries they represent."

So let me get this straight. If FICA harboured the same concerns about, say, an Australian tour of England, it would have a right to comment, but since the destination is Pakistan - whose players have thus far resisted any urge to join their brothers-in-arms, or been persuaded to - the fact that another cluster of FICA-associated players are the ones at risk is irrelevant by comparison with the pressing need to tell May and his comrades to mind their own business? Ah, such fraternal concern, such compassion.

It is hard not to mistrust administrative utterances on this particular topic. Nor will suspicion subside unless and until Rahul Dravid ascends the ICC throne hitherto occupied by a succession of chaps who came no nearer to playing in a post-60s Test than me. Given his experiences of rioting crowds, I'm fairly confident that Clyde Walcott - the first to hold such an office and only ex-international to do so - would have counselled against any rash statements or undertakings. And the proposition, stated or implicit, that players are more expendable than umpires - that anybody is expendable - is about as rash as it gets.

No leap of the imagination is required to unravel the mindset that fosters such a stance, however reprehensible it may be. After all, your average terrorist is hardly likely to target an administrator. They don't have to board the coaches and stay in the hotels and stand around a field for hours on end; they're not the sitting ducks. It isn't them who have to persuade their loved ones that going abroad to play games and fly the flag needn't necessarily mean not coming home.

In its defence, the sorely ill-advised press release that so enraged May can be attributed to the ICC's enthusiasm to put an end to Pakistan as a no-go area. Trouble is, the motivation comes across as largely, if not entirely, commercial - after all, the value of TV rights and sponsorship for matches in Abu Dhabi and Dubai is hardly going to be a patch on those in Lahore and Karachi. And for all that Test attendances there have often been pitiful in recent times, crowds for the shorter formats can be relied upon to be somewhat more populous than three sheikhs and 400 migrant workers.

So, foregoing plain English in favour of administratish, let's get to that bottom line. Unless those running the game put the participants' safety above all other considerations, the players feel safe, and the ICC sends the best available umpires to officiate a Test in Faisalabad if one is so sanctioned, it would be the very height of irresponsibility to revive Pakistan as a suitable international venue for a spot of bat-and-balling. It would also be more than a little inhumane.

* March 21, 0802GMT: The picture caption was corrected to state Bangladesh board president Mustafa Kamal is on the right-hand side (PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf is on the left).

Rob Steen is a sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sa1chin on March 22, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Sending a team to Pakistan is that particular CC board's perogative. Sending match officials is ICC's perogative. Weather to term it an official Test or One Day status is ICC's decision.Let us be very clear with the jurisdiction each has. Having said that it is extremely risky for Pakistan to invite high profile teams to visit the country as no one can guarantee safety of any one, given the publicity of an attempted attack, weather successful or botched. Such an attempt would close down any chance of international cricket for a decade after peace returns to Pakistan. So better to have patience. Here's wishing Pakistan good luck in the peace process and Rob Steen should not have prejudiced views of the other side of the world especially from the comfort of his desk.

  • adnan_rifat84 on March 22, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    My predictions if Bangladesh won Asia cup final against Pakistan then Bangla management will announce the tour of Pakistan, this can be a big deal by Bangla management that let us(Bangladesh) win and you( Pakistan) want some International cricket so we will come to your country, other wise sorry.

  • on March 22, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    Why does the author have to sing songs for 4 paragraphs before coming to the point? And I cannot help but laugh at people who want to drag BCCI into everything that's wrong with the world! I am no BCCI fan, from it... but let's get some perspective here.

  • vswami on March 22, 2012, 1:58 GMT

    @davidc1984 Players sign contracts with their Boards not ICC and hence the "rights" and "obligations" of players are as per what the players have signed up to their respective boards. Dont like the contractual terms ? Then dont sign up !

  • on March 21, 2012, 23:53 GMT

    A lot of people commenting here are missing the point. Rob isn't making a comment on the actual security situation in Pakistan. What he is saying is that given the ICC does not feel that it is safe for their umpires to officiate in Pakistan, they should not endorse the tour, nor should they absolve themselves of responsibility for the tour. Why is it that people can't comprehend a simple concept, create a misunderstood picture of what the author is saying, and then attack that picture? Rob isn't attacking Pakistan, and he isn't saying that Pakistan is not safe. He is saying that if the ICC thinks its not safe, they should do something about it (essentially). And he has a very very good point.

  • on March 21, 2012, 23:25 GMT

    Steen nailed it right here: "It is hard not to mistrust administrative utterances on this particular topic. Nor will suspicion subside unless and until Rahul Dravid ascends the ICC throne hitherto occupied by a succession of chaps who came no nearer to playing in a post-60s Test than me. Given his experiences of rioting crowds, I'm fairly confident that Clyde Walcott - the first to hold such an office and only ex-international to do so - would have counselled against any rash statements or undertakings. And the proposition, stated or implicit, that players are more expendable than umpires - that anybody is expendable - is about as rash as it gets. "

    FICA need to be respected & we need real leadership for the ICC for it to truly deserve to represent the game of cricket.

  • Dhutugemunu on March 21, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    I'm not against International Cricket in Pakistan. Is the security level up there enough? We remember that there were some terrorist bomb blasts at Colombo, Sri Lanka when International Cricket Teams were in Sri Lanka. But those players were never targeted. But when Sri Lankan Cricket Team toured Pakistan in 2009 they were the target. Hope you guys remember that Lahore Attack. So that is not a good sign. Targeting Players. Who can assure that this will never happen again in Pakistan?

  • awt786 on March 21, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    well said Akhtar Hassan ,i completely agree with you .

  • ss_ton on March 21, 2012, 20:22 GMT

    That there have been double standards at play when it comes to Pakistan is beyond dispute (at least to me). Pakistan is certainly not a safe place - but then few places in South Asia are. Can this stance have something to do with behind-the-scenes influence exerted by the BCCI? As an Indian, this would not surprise me. I'm absolutely ashamed of this organziation, what its done to the game and how much animosity it has created among the fans around the world towards Indian cricket in general ...

  • adis26 on March 21, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    I happen to think that all the nations are being a bunch of cowards by not allowing countries to travel to Pakistan. I understand the immediate withdrawal but why should teams be stopped going for tours in Pak with extra security and stuff. I long for an Ind-Pak test match but our government has other political issues with Pak Govt. I would like to believe that at least for us Indians, the 'safety' of Pak is not an issue and it should not be for other countries either. However, it is unfortunate that this is the world we live in and hopefully - Pak can make strides ahead in showing that it is a very safe place to travel to.

  • sa1chin on March 22, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Sending a team to Pakistan is that particular CC board's perogative. Sending match officials is ICC's perogative. Weather to term it an official Test or One Day status is ICC's decision.Let us be very clear with the jurisdiction each has. Having said that it is extremely risky for Pakistan to invite high profile teams to visit the country as no one can guarantee safety of any one, given the publicity of an attempted attack, weather successful or botched. Such an attempt would close down any chance of international cricket for a decade after peace returns to Pakistan. So better to have patience. Here's wishing Pakistan good luck in the peace process and Rob Steen should not have prejudiced views of the other side of the world especially from the comfort of his desk.

  • adnan_rifat84 on March 22, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    My predictions if Bangladesh won Asia cup final against Pakistan then Bangla management will announce the tour of Pakistan, this can be a big deal by Bangla management that let us(Bangladesh) win and you( Pakistan) want some International cricket so we will come to your country, other wise sorry.

  • on March 22, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    Why does the author have to sing songs for 4 paragraphs before coming to the point? And I cannot help but laugh at people who want to drag BCCI into everything that's wrong with the world! I am no BCCI fan, from it... but let's get some perspective here.

  • vswami on March 22, 2012, 1:58 GMT

    @davidc1984 Players sign contracts with their Boards not ICC and hence the "rights" and "obligations" of players are as per what the players have signed up to their respective boards. Dont like the contractual terms ? Then dont sign up !

  • on March 21, 2012, 23:53 GMT

    A lot of people commenting here are missing the point. Rob isn't making a comment on the actual security situation in Pakistan. What he is saying is that given the ICC does not feel that it is safe for their umpires to officiate in Pakistan, they should not endorse the tour, nor should they absolve themselves of responsibility for the tour. Why is it that people can't comprehend a simple concept, create a misunderstood picture of what the author is saying, and then attack that picture? Rob isn't attacking Pakistan, and he isn't saying that Pakistan is not safe. He is saying that if the ICC thinks its not safe, they should do something about it (essentially). And he has a very very good point.

  • on March 21, 2012, 23:25 GMT

    Steen nailed it right here: "It is hard not to mistrust administrative utterances on this particular topic. Nor will suspicion subside unless and until Rahul Dravid ascends the ICC throne hitherto occupied by a succession of chaps who came no nearer to playing in a post-60s Test than me. Given his experiences of rioting crowds, I'm fairly confident that Clyde Walcott - the first to hold such an office and only ex-international to do so - would have counselled against any rash statements or undertakings. And the proposition, stated or implicit, that players are more expendable than umpires - that anybody is expendable - is about as rash as it gets. "

    FICA need to be respected & we need real leadership for the ICC for it to truly deserve to represent the game of cricket.

  • Dhutugemunu on March 21, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    I'm not against International Cricket in Pakistan. Is the security level up there enough? We remember that there were some terrorist bomb blasts at Colombo, Sri Lanka when International Cricket Teams were in Sri Lanka. But those players were never targeted. But when Sri Lankan Cricket Team toured Pakistan in 2009 they were the target. Hope you guys remember that Lahore Attack. So that is not a good sign. Targeting Players. Who can assure that this will never happen again in Pakistan?

  • awt786 on March 21, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    well said Akhtar Hassan ,i completely agree with you .

  • ss_ton on March 21, 2012, 20:22 GMT

    That there have been double standards at play when it comes to Pakistan is beyond dispute (at least to me). Pakistan is certainly not a safe place - but then few places in South Asia are. Can this stance have something to do with behind-the-scenes influence exerted by the BCCI? As an Indian, this would not surprise me. I'm absolutely ashamed of this organziation, what its done to the game and how much animosity it has created among the fans around the world towards Indian cricket in general ...

  • adis26 on March 21, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    I happen to think that all the nations are being a bunch of cowards by not allowing countries to travel to Pakistan. I understand the immediate withdrawal but why should teams be stopped going for tours in Pak with extra security and stuff. I long for an Ind-Pak test match but our government has other political issues with Pak Govt. I would like to believe that at least for us Indians, the 'safety' of Pak is not an issue and it should not be for other countries either. However, it is unfortunate that this is the world we live in and hopefully - Pak can make strides ahead in showing that it is a very safe place to travel to.

  • IshaqMalik on March 21, 2012, 19:29 GMT

    came here to post comments but @Khurram Iqbal Khojla has already summarized my opinion quite well.

  • JohnnyRook on March 21, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    @Dashgar. Just like countries have their travel advisories, ICC also can and should advise individual boards whether it is safe or not but they shouldn't have a blanket ban on Pakistan hosting matches. If Bangladesh are fine with playing cricket there, they must be allowed to. However ICC is free not to send the elite panel umpires who are their employees. @cricpolitics. You should get a grip on reality. No foreign umpire is gonna travel to Pakistan and ICC being directly responsible for umpires has to look out for them. It has made an exception for Pakistani umpires to be used for the series. What more do you want. The trust for Pak establishment will only come back slowly. @Shayan. Actually you are mistaken, India is a lot safer than Pak. Just go to wikipedia and see the past 3 years data of terror attacks. Plus no cricket team has been specifically targeted in India.

  • PlaySafeus on March 21, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    What will the writer say when ICC assess the country fine for play but the visiting team does not do it. Like England tour of Zimbabwe, Australia and WI denies to play in Sri Lanka in 1996 World Cup.

    But obviously all other countries are safe to play without any security, and how would you describe Pak and Ind players playing a match during WC 1996 in Sri Lanka to show Goodwill.

    PCB should decide to only play tours and no home games ( none at neuteral venues as well) let the ranking of other teams get effected, and also to add let the ICC rot and see demise of cricket.

    When ICC was not able to ask India to tour Pakistan due to political influence, there was no security threat reasoning given then, it was political and ICC being political organization itself are now facing music from BCCI, I loved how they rejected recent recommendations for reforms. Mr. Writer, did you wrote something on it, pls send me a link. I m sure this comment will not see life for other users to read.

  • on March 21, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    Rob, go and visit Pakistan before making such idiotic comments. When was the last time you were there.

  • davidc1984 on March 21, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    @vswami The boards 'own' the players?

  • on March 21, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    Good subject but poor writing skills. Dont know if the writer was confused or the intention was to confuse the reader.

  • sri_pitt on March 21, 2012, 15:49 GMT

    Well, If BCCI decides to send Indian team to Pakistan, I guess ICC will not have any problem to send officials. In my view if any ICC officials want's to visit Pakistan at their own risk ICC should allow.

  • on March 21, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    PAKISTAN ALREADY PROMISED THAT VISITING TEAMS WILL GET "HEAD OF THE STATE SECURITY"WHAT ELSE WE SHOULD DO--- ICC & OTHER TEAMS DONT WANT ANY TOUR FOR PAKISTAN-- THERE IS AN OLD SAYING"U CAN TAKE THE HORSE TO THR RIVER BUT WE CANT FORCE HIM TO DRINK" SORRY PAKISTAN WE WILL SURVIVE--- STILL WE PLAY BETTER CRICKET

  • on March 21, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    The comments are more interesting than the article.

  • Happy_AusBang on March 21, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    I think it is better that Pakistan keep playing their home matches abroad. In the long run, they will emerge stronger and more confident.

  • IftikharAhmedGujjar on March 21, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    Well, this is absurd on part of ICC. Writing risk assessments from desks thousands of miles away is the only thing ICC is good at doing. Pakistan has guaranteed provision of Head of State level security to foreign touring countries.

    I still remember that Pakistan and India formed a joint team to play a friendly match in Sri Lanka in 1996 in order to quash similar mentality, when some countries tried to avoid playing there.

    In these circumstances the best option available for Pakistan is to cancel all the home series instead of playing at neutral grounds.

  • vswami on March 21, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    I think the stance taken by ICC is fair. How can ICC claim to have greater concern for safety of Bangladesh players than the Bangladesh board themselves. And ditto for Pakistan players. If Bangladesh board complains and doesnt want to go, ICC certainly can advice them not to go. They may even annul the records and such formalities since ICC officials are not there. However they cant stop Bangladesh from playing there if they want to, as ICC doesnt own the players of Bangladesh and Pakistan. The respective boards do.

  • on March 21, 2012, 11:19 GMT

    Rob, as a Pakistani, it is my keen desire to see international cricket return to Pakistan, but I absolutely agree with you that if the ICC does not feel safe in sending its officials, how can they expect and agree one of its member boards or for that matter anyone else to tour. Absolute rubbish. Before Cricket returns to Pakistan, peace has to and all concerned should feel absolutely safe and have no reservations. Foregoing safety concerns for commercial and other benefits is the height of insensibility and crappy common sense. Completely Agree with you "YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING"

  • theon on March 21, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    Rob, here's a question. If Bangladesh thinks it's OK to visit then what right does the ICC have to tell them not to go? It's an absolutely ridiculous notion that the ICC should be able to stop countries that want to tour Pakistan from doing so

  • on March 21, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    I don't have much to comment on this, because others have already done quite well. But I wanted to shout out that this is indeed not the Cricinfo that I knew, which now supports articles from the writers with prejudice. Freedom of speech is acceptable, but when posted by Cricinfo goes to show its endorsement of the idea against a particular country, based on mere perceptions, is a gross ignorance of the realities on ground and lack of aptitude to investigate before presenting weightless opinions.

  • PakEditor on March 21, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    @ Imran Hasmi. At least Cricinfo categorized Rob's article accurately - under "Specials" section. Isn't Rob just so special? And a teacher. Oh wow. Couldn't continue following the passion, might as well end up teaching it.

  • on March 21, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    Mr. Rob Steen I don't know how long are you in this profession of sports journalism but I know for sure that you are a novice in this field because of your lack of knowledge in this regard. Do you know there was a bomb blast in Sri Lanka in 1987 when New Zealand team was there and they had abandoned their tour. Then there was a bomb blast in Sri Lanka in 1992 near the teams hotel and the team was New Zealand again. Third time a blast occured in Sri Lanka when India and South Africa were there for a tri-nation tournament in 2006. In 1996 at Atlanta Olympics two people were killed and 111 injured in a bomb blast. In 1972 Munich Olympics 11 athletes and coaches were killed. Did you write anything about those instances or do you want to single out Pakistan only? I want to ask the same question from Mr. Tim May who is another person with a prejudiced mentality.

  • 55176467 on March 21, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    Funny thing is that Rob knows more about Pakistan's security situation while sitting somewhere on Brighton beach.....:)......Sorry but.....bad article....

  • Baundele on March 21, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    I agree that ICC has to take more responsibilities. Actually killing players would make more headline than killing ICC officials. So, if the tour is unsafe for the officials, it is double unsafe for players. Cricket is one of the most important thing regarding Pakistan. Therefore, visiting cricket teams are in more danger than a normal tourist or a football team. Pakistan's past regarding security is not a motivating thing. Sri Lankan team was promised the Presidential level of security and we all know what happened. Recently, even Pakistan's naval base was attacked. The bottom line is, although the return of international cricket to Pakistan will aid cricket in general, no sane board will send their players until the situation improves significantly.

  • zain.ul.abideen on March 21, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    hahaha.... the first paragraph tells us the whole story. your opinions are based on what is the popular culture. your one of the masses who'se who opinions and ways of thinking are sheparded by the media. This whole opinion of yours is based on skynews and foxnews. it doesn't matter

  • sneeky55 on March 21, 2012, 9:34 GMT

    Terrible article. The writing is not at all captivating, and Rob, you didn't even get on to the topic till about half way through! Disappointed with you, once again.

  • on March 21, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    If i'm not mistaken, there was a terrorist attack in the Indian Hyderabad during the IPL, the foreign players and officials had no problems in playing there even then...so it's just bias against Pakistan...you guys have a very wrong perception that every public place and figure is in danger here...we have concerts and fashion shows here which are more the sort of thing an extremist would target...besides there was a sort of cease fire from the taliban during the india pakistan world cup semi final!! also Pakistan is promising the safety of the players and the matches would take place in one city only...don't we deserve a chance after what we've done for bangladesh cricket?

  • Dashgar on March 21, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    @Zaheer, good pick up but there is no way Rob made that caption. @johnnyrook, the ICC have a responsibility to protect the players. If they think Pakistan is too unsafe to send officials then they shouldn't allow Pakistan to host matches. @mmrrr, cricketeria and Imran Hashmi, Rob is not making a judgement on how safe Pakistan is. The ICC have already made that judgement and declared it unsafe. The problem is that despite the country being declared unsafe they have still allowed the tour. This idea that Pakistan is unsafe has merit, remember what happened to Samaraweera. If Pakistan want to host matches they should have to convince the ICC that they can protect all those involved. Rob hasn't based anything on an assumption, he's based it on an ICC ruling

  • Haleos on March 21, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    @cricpolitics - the chances of a whole team dying in a plane crash is much much higher than in a terrorist attack? Are u serious? check the stats. Airtravel is supposed to be the safest mode of transport. Millions have been killed by the terrorists. When will u open ur eyes and come out of denial.

  • on March 21, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    @Imran, Zaheer n cricketeria...he's not talking about whether the ground situation is safe in Pak. He is talking about the flippant way in which ICC has decided to wash its hands of the affair. They should have a responsibility towards both teams and the officials not just the officials.

  • Cricinfo-Editorial on March 21, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    The picture caption has been corrected. It had earlier mentioned Mustafa Kamal to standing on the left. Thanks to zaheer07 for pointing out our error

  • on March 21, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    Rahul Dravid for ICC President! Online petition to be started soon!!

  • mmrrr27 on March 21, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    Your article is based on the assumption (whether right or wrong) that Pakistan is absolutely the most dangerous place on earth and there is no chance of a foreigner not getting hurt when he visits that country. I would not be surprised if you have never visited Pakistan. Your opinion is that the series should absolutely not take place, and the two countries that are taking part and hence stakeholders in the situation are still figuring out if it should go ahead or not. My apologies, but I think those two countries have a better sense of the conditions on ground and probably care about their players too a bit. I will not endorse your opinion that the ICC, PCB and Bangladesh board have no regard for player safety.

  • zaheer07 on March 21, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    How can you write this article as you don't even know who is Mustafa Kamal in the picture (He is on n right side, not on left)

  • cricketeria on March 21, 2012, 6:07 GMT

    Look at the big picture Rob. Pakistan is safe for cricket, full stop. I don't understand the about face from Bangladesh but these are the steps ICC and other boards must take to bring cricket back to Pakistan. What sort of guarantees do you need? I don't think you care about cricket being played in Pakistan, at all. Cricket in Pakistan doesn't draw huge crowds anyway, so no, ICC is hardly motivated by commercialism. TV rights? They're the same whether Lahore or Dubai, yes?

  • on March 21, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    Rob, it took me a while to understand what exactly were you trying to say in your article ... maybe I'll read it one more time when I'm not annoyed at your lack of compassion and total bias towards certain countries (yes, i mean Pakistan) this article seems to be dripping with. But for now, here's what I want you to understand. There's more to life than money ... I agree that Pakistan cricket board is full of morons and they're hurting from the loss of revenue stream due to this situation, but do you seriously not understand what it means to not be able to see your own team play in your country ? Can you really blame a sporting board for trying to fix this ? I'd much rather believe at this point that your prejudice and ignorance have clouded your opinion while writing this article, rather than think that this is just how you reason. I'm more disappointed at Cricinfo than you for supporting this kind of bias ...

  • JohnnyRook on March 21, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    I don't really see any fault of ICC here and ofcourse this is very very rare. ICC has made it clear that in its opinion touring Pakistan is not safe and they wouldn't send their employees on it. Now if Bangladesh or anybody else wants to tour on their own risk, they are free to. ICC is making an exception to let them use non-elite panel umpires. I don't see what else is ICC expected to do.

  • cricpolitics on March 21, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    It is an absolute irresponsible and immature decision from the ICC. How in the world you can consider something not safe for officials without sending your own security team there and then at the same time it's OK for others to visit. Bangladesh is trying their best to revive cricket in Pakistan so they should not be blamed for it if the tour does not go through, the onus will be on ICC who don't seem to be serious enough for the cricket revival in Pakistan. Yes, it is true that an unfortunate event occurred few years ago which should have not occurred but things don't remain the same. I'm sure these same ICC administrators still board a plane after they see a plane crashing. God forbid, the chances of a whole team dying in a plane crash is much much higher than in a terrorist attack so ICC get real and show some genuine interest in helping out your member countries. To give a statement without doing any do-diligence send all the wrong signals.

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  • cricpolitics on March 21, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    It is an absolute irresponsible and immature decision from the ICC. How in the world you can consider something not safe for officials without sending your own security team there and then at the same time it's OK for others to visit. Bangladesh is trying their best to revive cricket in Pakistan so they should not be blamed for it if the tour does not go through, the onus will be on ICC who don't seem to be serious enough for the cricket revival in Pakistan. Yes, it is true that an unfortunate event occurred few years ago which should have not occurred but things don't remain the same. I'm sure these same ICC administrators still board a plane after they see a plane crashing. God forbid, the chances of a whole team dying in a plane crash is much much higher than in a terrorist attack so ICC get real and show some genuine interest in helping out your member countries. To give a statement without doing any do-diligence send all the wrong signals.

  • JohnnyRook on March 21, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    I don't really see any fault of ICC here and ofcourse this is very very rare. ICC has made it clear that in its opinion touring Pakistan is not safe and they wouldn't send their employees on it. Now if Bangladesh or anybody else wants to tour on their own risk, they are free to. ICC is making an exception to let them use non-elite panel umpires. I don't see what else is ICC expected to do.

  • on March 21, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    Rob, it took me a while to understand what exactly were you trying to say in your article ... maybe I'll read it one more time when I'm not annoyed at your lack of compassion and total bias towards certain countries (yes, i mean Pakistan) this article seems to be dripping with. But for now, here's what I want you to understand. There's more to life than money ... I agree that Pakistan cricket board is full of morons and they're hurting from the loss of revenue stream due to this situation, but do you seriously not understand what it means to not be able to see your own team play in your country ? Can you really blame a sporting board for trying to fix this ? I'd much rather believe at this point that your prejudice and ignorance have clouded your opinion while writing this article, rather than think that this is just how you reason. I'm more disappointed at Cricinfo than you for supporting this kind of bias ...

  • cricketeria on March 21, 2012, 6:07 GMT

    Look at the big picture Rob. Pakistan is safe for cricket, full stop. I don't understand the about face from Bangladesh but these are the steps ICC and other boards must take to bring cricket back to Pakistan. What sort of guarantees do you need? I don't think you care about cricket being played in Pakistan, at all. Cricket in Pakistan doesn't draw huge crowds anyway, so no, ICC is hardly motivated by commercialism. TV rights? They're the same whether Lahore or Dubai, yes?

  • zaheer07 on March 21, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    How can you write this article as you don't even know who is Mustafa Kamal in the picture (He is on n right side, not on left)

  • mmrrr27 on March 21, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    Your article is based on the assumption (whether right or wrong) that Pakistan is absolutely the most dangerous place on earth and there is no chance of a foreigner not getting hurt when he visits that country. I would not be surprised if you have never visited Pakistan. Your opinion is that the series should absolutely not take place, and the two countries that are taking part and hence stakeholders in the situation are still figuring out if it should go ahead or not. My apologies, but I think those two countries have a better sense of the conditions on ground and probably care about their players too a bit. I will not endorse your opinion that the ICC, PCB and Bangladesh board have no regard for player safety.

  • on March 21, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    Rahul Dravid for ICC President! Online petition to be started soon!!

  • Cricinfo-Editorial on March 21, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    The picture caption has been corrected. It had earlier mentioned Mustafa Kamal to standing on the left. Thanks to zaheer07 for pointing out our error

  • on March 21, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    @Imran, Zaheer n cricketeria...he's not talking about whether the ground situation is safe in Pak. He is talking about the flippant way in which ICC has decided to wash its hands of the affair. They should have a responsibility towards both teams and the officials not just the officials.

  • Haleos on March 21, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    @cricpolitics - the chances of a whole team dying in a plane crash is much much higher than in a terrorist attack? Are u serious? check the stats. Airtravel is supposed to be the safest mode of transport. Millions have been killed by the terrorists. When will u open ur eyes and come out of denial.