Will BCCI care for national sentiment?

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Friday, November 24, 2000, 12:30 [IST]
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Why is the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and its former president, Raj Singh Dungarpur in particular, so keen on the Indian team touring Pakistan?

What kind of cricketing brotherhood is it, that is being fostered over the dead bodies of our own, innocent countrymen, who are being killed almost every day in the Kashmir Valley and elsewhere by Pakistan-sponsored militants.

It is a shame that Dungarpur, after his visit to Lahore, should have personified the Pakistani disappointment over the cancellation of the tour, by saying "They are feeling as if a death had occurred in the family."

What about the families of the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims, who are being slaughtered, even as the Indian government is offering cease-fire and restraining our own military and para-military personnel. Does not the cricket-crazy former BCCI president grieve over their plight?

Most countrymen have welcomed the cancellation of the Indian tour of Pakistan, due to take place early next year. The reasons for the government stand on the issue are too well known for repetition here. It would be against national sentiments to join in the celebration of a game of cricket with a country which is not only continuing cross-border terrorism, but is also allowing it to spiral further.

For the same reasons, India's last two visits to Toronto for a series of One-day matches against Pakistan were cancelled.

As a reaction to the present Indian government decision, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has threatened not to play against India anywhere, even at neutral centres. He may have now gone back on his words, but PCB chief Lt. Gen Tauqir Zia had asked the ICC to impose financial penalties on the Indian Board and also cancel the rest of their Test programmes with other countries.

Who cares? These are such empty threats. It will not be the end of the world, if we do not play cricket matches against Pakistan. The only losers will be those promoters, who fully exploit the arch rivalry between the two countries for a financial windfall.

There was a long drought of 17 years, when the teams of India and Pakistan did not meet on a cricket field. It has been 11 years since India last visited Pakistan. It wasn't a pleasant tour either.

The Indian captain on that tour of 1989, Krishnamachari Srikkanth ought to have been given a bravery award for the manner in which he carried the team through all the hatred that was showered on the players, including 16-year-old Sachin Tendulkar.

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