Human beings are both such brilliant creatures and amazingly insipid.
Innately, we love our brothers, yet can still orchestrate ways to create Israel and Gaza or North and South Korea.
In 1947, Pakistan and India joined the flock of the broken family.
Cricket, in its own way, has been trying to repair the damage ever since.
The cynic in us blames the lack of competition between these two down to politics and money. But scratch the surface, even just a little, and signs appear that it is simply an issue of basic human survival.
When the “Big 3” took over the ICC and rewrote the rule book last year, one of the agreed sweeteners was that Pakistan would once again see a bilateral series against India. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed. Cricket had hope.
It’s not as though these teams aren’t playing each other. This year, Adelaide hosted the quarreling brothers with aplomb. No security issues. No DRS disputes. No discussion over television rights or sponsors.
Just two competing nations playing cricket. A crowd drunk on emotion. Once the first ball was bowled, the reasons to say no quickly disappeared into muffled sounds of background noise.
These last few weeks have seen the BCCI finally act on its MoU obligations and offer to play Pakistan in India. For its part, the PCB want the series to be played in the UAE.
India have said no.
When Shashank Manohar took over the BCCI, he promised a new era of openness and transparency. An Indian perestroika and glasnost .
To his credit, he has come through on most, if not all of his promises on this regard.
However, on one crucial point, he has not.
The BCCI has stated that they will not play Pakistan in the UAE. They refuse to explain the reason, but according to BCCI official Rajiv Shukla “we have our own policies”.
A casual observer could easily come to the conclusion that this is a money grab.
Perhaps it is linked to the ongoing issue of Ten Sports holding the rights in Pakistan? Their owners are a direct threat to the ICC with the plans of a rebel league start up being leaked.
But it is not.
Manohar has hinted to the reasons behind his hard-line stance. In fact, he was overt with it before his Presidency began, when he was vocal against the IPL playing in the UAE also.
At that time, he didn’t trust that the system could protect the players from the grubby dealings of known active bookies based in the region.
The irony is that the ICC is based there.
Pakistan has been bitten by the match fixing bug more than most. Most recently, names such as Butt and Amir have made headlines.
Unfortunately, a UK paper this week also reported that the 3rd Pakistan v England ODI was tainted. They claim the ICC’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) is investigating strange betting patterns on the match, as well as pre-game leaks that there would be three Pakistani run outs.
There were indeed three Pakistani run outs in that match. A match that England won comfortably.
The real reason that the BCCI don’t want to play Pakistan in the UAE is because of the threat of corruption.
Manohar is doing everything in his power to clean up the BCCI. Whether it be conflicts of interest, whether it be governance or whether it be his ultra conservative stance against any forms of foul play.
Rajiv Shukla has stated that India would happily play in Lahore should Pakistan be able to guarantee the safety of the players to the satisfaction of the ICC. This carrot is nothing more than a political ploy to deflect from the real issue. India will not play in Pakistan anytime soon.
However, India also don’t want to play where they perceive other risks other than safety.
In this case, the BCCI don’t trust the Pakistan players can remain clean. They may also have doubts over their own brethren.
If only Manohar was strong enough to state this reason publicly.
It is not an embarrassment or a sledge on Pakistan that this is the situation. It is simply the symptom of a long held problem. Put simply, the ACSU is a powerless beast and the ICC are struggling to manage the issue.
So playing in Pakistan is currently not an option due to physical threats. Playing in the UAE is not an option due to the possibility of rogue outside influences.
The only option is to play in India.
The BCCI has offered the PCB adequate compensation to ensure no financial losses. There is clearly a genuine desire from the Indians to start playing their neighbours again.
But if Pakistan choose to make this a political point scoring exercise rather than accept that the world is not perfect, then cricket will lose out yet again.
The ball is in your court PCB.
Reproduced at First Post