Of cricket and Pak­istan

Deccan Chronicle - - EDIT -

Team In­dia will play Pak­istan this week­end in Eng­land. In­dia is com­mit­ted to the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy, though it may seem in­con­gru­ous it will not play Pak­istan in any bi­lat­eral se­ries. Cu­ri­ous as this ap­pears, it’s the Pak­istan govern­ment and its Army that have made it im­pos­si­ble for na­tion-to-na­tion sport­ing ties to con­tinue. The In­dian govern­ment, through its sports min­is­ter, has un­equiv­o­cally said there is no ques­tion of di­rect sport­ing ties. Given the re­cent two be­head­ings of In­dian sol­diers in raids across the bor­der and “proxy” at­tacks on In­dian mil­i­tary bases in the past year or so, it is ob­vi­ous nor­mal sport can’t go on in an at­mos­phere of naked hos­til­ity.

The govern­ment was forced to make its stand clear to quell any thoughts the BCCI may have had of fos­ter­ing cricket ties in a diplo­matic ges­ture at its meet­ing with the Pak­istani board in Dubai. The cash-strapped PCB not only ap­pealed to the BCCI to honour ICC cricket com­mit­ments, but also threat­ened to sue it for breach of con­tract and claim com­pen­sa­tion. But it’s also true that some diplo­matic chan­nels must be kept open, which is what the ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­is­ter used to res­cue an In­dian woman forced into a mar­riage from Pak­istani soil.

Hu­man­ity tends to win even in bel­liger­ent times, but such in­stances of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions tri­umph­ing can’t be seen as a sign of nor­mal­ity, and the last thing to ex­pect while deal­ing with the Pak­ista­nis. At such times, it is fu­tile to be­lieve sport can truly be sep­a­rated from other over­whelm­ing national pri­or­i­ties.

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