Yes. I agree that Cricket is more than a mere sport in India, and players are more than human for most of us. Why go far, I myself have been a very passionate and critical viewer of Sachin Tendulkar’s career over the past 18 years or so and I proudly admit that I simply adore him, on and off the field.
But it’s different. This time, I am not here to talk about Cricket or Indian Cricket or any other superstar celebrity we adore, neither am I indicating at any singular sporting nation who worship their players and believe that the show must go on. This time, the spotlight is, unfortunately, on the raging battle between two mercurial nations, fighting for their pride and dignity. Yes, I am most definitely talking about India & Pakistan. The Indian Government, still trying to recover from the Mumbai disaster, has just officially announced that our ‘Indian Cricket Team’ would not be travelling to Pakistan in Jan 2009, for the scheduled series between the two nations. And, understandably, The PCB and Pakistan government are not pleased with this announcement. In fact, for the past couple of weeks, everybody starting from Imran Khan to Pervez Musharraf to the PCB President, have been quoting that India should keep up their commitments and tour Pakistan for the Goodwill of both the countries. Irrespective of whatever happened or happens in future, they are convinced that Cricket will ease the political pressure and friction between the 2 countries.
Easier said than done.
I think it is indeed very difficult and impossible at times to think about playing cricket and be commercially viable, especially when our country has been bombarded with terrorists and more so, when we have the slightest of hint that the seeds of terror were sown in a place, which used to be ours, some 60 years back. And, as an Indian, I feel that Indian government’s decision is justified. We can’t survive on double standards and be diplomatically weak, to neglect such incidents that have literally blown our nation apart.
I have been reading few articles on this of late, one of them stated that “If England can tour India, there is no reason why India can’t tour Pakistan.” I was simply stunned. What is the yardstick for placing India and Pakistan in the same league? And what are the pre-requisites for qualifying? Both are sub-continental nations, I believe the similarity ends there.
Just a day before the tour was officially cancelled, Zaheer Abbas commented that ‘PCB should not be pleading India to send their team to our country, if they are not keen in continuing their relationship with us. If they are not interested, neither are we. I have many friends in India too and they are also very fond of us. But we are not desperate’.
‘Sport’ establishes a universal bonding between a game and its people. At times, we tend to be emotional and subsequently, ignore the other side of the coin. But this time, I think, it has been much more than all that. This is the time, when we need to stand tall and take difficult decisions. And difficult decisions are always tricky, they don’t make everybody happy. It’s intended to be that way.
To sum up, I feel that all said and done, no sport or individual is bigger than it’s nation. And during times such as these, we need to stay together and act sensibly.