Thursday, August 21, 2008

Take Champions Trophy out of Pakistan

By John Cheeran
Who wants to go to Pakistan?
Not me. So how can I blame Australian, English and Kiwi cricketers who are not in a mood to go to Pakistan to play Champions Trophy in that perennially benighted country.
Those cricketers are scared.
You never know what happens in Pakistan the next moment. Not even Benazir Bhutto did.
Democracy in Pakistan is more dangerous than the General’s rule. Cricketers fear for their lives.
Soldiers go to Afghanistan, Iraq and fight for their respective governments. They have made their choice to live dangerously so they cannot back off when duty calls them.
Cricket, yes, is a circus. But cricketers are not soldiers, trained to battle extreme hardships. Balls are not bullets. Balls are not even bombs. Poor cricketers are experts only in negotiating the ball.
Well, the question is -- is it only in Pakistan that bombs go off?
Not in India, not in Sri Lanka?
Yes, terrorism is as much a reality in India as in Pakistan.
But unlike in Pakistan, India has a greater stature in the comity of nations (oh my God, how I hate to use that phrase). People ignore the bombs when they come to India.
For India is a state of mind, a state of mind, that cannot be confounded by jihadis.
Sharad Pawar and the Board of Control for Cricket In India (BCCI) are playing political games within the International Cricket Council, putting the ball firmly in the court of Australian Cricket Board, ECB, New Zealand Cricket. I love it. I even enjoy it.
But the only reasonable solution to break the impasse is to take Champions Trophy out of Pakistan and get on with the game.
Play ball, not bombs.

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