Millennium Post

Cricket yes, by all means

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has made public the fact that it is on the advanced stages of finalising a short cricket series between India and Pakistan this winter. As for now, the plans include three ODI’s in Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi respectively while two T20s are to be played in Bangalore and Ahmedabad. The BCCI has claimed that the Indian government has given in-principle permission to go ahead with the series which will mean hosting the Pakitan team and the Board is on advanced talks with its Pakistan counterpart to finalise the details. The Pakistan Cricket Board has welcomed the move and why still waiting for an official confirmation from the Indian board about the whereabouts of the series.

The possibility of a cricket series after five years of freeze of cricketing ties is exciting news for cricket buffs in both the countries and we would like to believe that there are literally thousands who would welcome the move from BCCI. In fact it is indeed welcome if cricketing ties are resumed among the neighbours because it will be a mistake to put cricket on high moral pedestal and see it through the prism of geopolitics. Cricket is just another game and however much popularity it enjoys in both countries, one cannot doubt that cricket is neither an official signature of the two counties mutual trust neither is the freezing of cricket ties any more of a conductor of its mutual distrust than anything else. If the two countries can meet at the ministerial and the secretarial levels at various platforms across the globe, if its musicians, performers and actors either way can cross boundaries and entertain audiences, it can play cricket too. However much the sponsors and the canvassers of the game may try to convince us, cricket is not war. And really not so important. So by all means, the BCCI should go ahead and execute its plan of resuming cricketing ties. 

The real question is about commerce. The BCCI knows that cricket is losing its commercial lustre and an India-Pakistan series may give back some traction to the finances, IPL notwithstanding. In times of doubt, and Indo-Pak series comes with guaranteed income written all over it and so the ever-hungry BCCI is so keen on going ahead with the series. The same goes for the Pakistan cricket Board which is anyway looking to get out of an endless litany of issues involving graft, match fixing, rebellion etc. It pays off both ways.   

The government of both countries may however consider the fact that there are many more bi-lateral issues that need to be addressed at any cost. Cricket may act as a necessary ice-breaker. And if it so does, the two governments might do well to sit together to start addressing the real issues, issues that go beyond just a black scoreboard, and are yet to be addressed by both the countries.
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