Pakistan Cricket Board must wake up

The extent of desperation within the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for a bilateral series against India showed up in no small measure on Saturday when their chairman Shaharyar Khan told reporters that he was disappointed to hear BCCI functionary Rajeev Shukla say that the resumption of India-Pakistan cricket ties is not close at hand.

Shukla said that there were no immediate plans for a series and the BCCI was not keen on neutral venue action.

What was Khan expecting after a recent, brief visit to India where he met key Board officials? That the BCCI immediately comes out with a statement, announcing a tour to Pakistan or a series on neutral venue?

Sport and politics should never mix, but inevitably it does especially in aspects concerning safety of players.

The Pakistan board’s dire financial condition notwithstanding, it is not right for them to highlight the fact that an India series will help them boost their sagging coffers. The primary need for India and Pakistan to resume cricketing ties should be because the fans and players would enjoy them and not because of the money involved.

On one hand, the BCCI is slammed by all and sundry in other parts of the world that they are unfairly dominating international cricket. On the other, administrators like Khan have no hesitation in looking up to the BCCI as their saviour. India’s so-called unhealthy influence on the game can only be negated when other countries try their best to be self sufficient and not depend on India for their survival. In short, if you allow the big fish to protect you all the time, they will have good reason, probably every right, to rule over you.

The PCB should accept the fact that it’s still not safe for cricket teams to tour their country. What better endorsement of that than the International Cricket Council, the very rulers of the game, not sending their umpires to officiate the first series in Pakistan after the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009.

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