Thursday, January 28, 2010


Shunning Pakistani players is not at all good for the sport!

So the IPL season is back. And with it, the high profile bidding by various team owners, for players across the world, is also back! But surprisingly, the team owners voluntarily shunned all Pakistani players. Not even a single Pakistani cricketer was selected by team owners for their respective teams. Players, such as Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir — to name a few — were blatantly dumped during the bidding process.

In fact, it is reported that on the pretext of security issues, Pakistani players have not been included this time – which is kind of absurd! Fundamentally, though IPL is an Indian property, but it is more of a global event, and is designed to provide an opportunity to new and upcoming talent, who otherwise get no space in conventional cricket. Pakistan being a cricketing country for decades, there is no rationality as to why Pakistani players should be left behind. On the contrary, they should have been definitely included for there is probably no other sporting event wherein one can find spectators across the world cheering up for the teams, irrespective of their players and their domicile. Forget the world, probably in no other game will an Indian ever cheer up for Pakistani or vice versa (being arch cricketing rivals), as they do in IPL matches. Even if one has to consider the ongoing tension between India and Pakistan (which ideally they should not) and event like IPL and their participation would have acted as a cushion for the Indo-Pak relations. Their omission just highlights the double standards as on one hand, in spite of racist attacks by Australians on Indians in Australia, team owners didn’t find it wrong to select Australian cricketers, and on the other, they had no problems in shunning Pakistani cricket players on security grounds. In fact, it is extremely foolish to correlate a sport with terror attacks. Terrorism or its perpetrators have no correlation with Pakistani players playing or not playing IPL in India. For those planning an attack would anyways attempt it, whether or not Pakistani players’ play in the event. So it is ridiculous not to allow them to play at least on the grounds of the security issue. In fact by doing that we are doing more damage than any help anyone. Many budding Pak players (even the sidelined Pakistani ones) wait for IPL(s) to how case their talent or make a come back in their national side. And it is so unfortunate that even after inviting players for bidding, none of the team owners found them fit for their team, be it for whatever reasons.

There is no doubt also with the fact that security is a national imperative. But then that is between the governments on both sides to sort out. It is their responsibility to come together to neutralise terror outfits. If they have failed to arrive at a consensus — it is their problem. Why should the players and the cricket lovers pay a price for the same? No matter what, sports should be kept separate from politics. History has been testimony to the fact that sport has been a great unifier. And the manner in which IPL was shaping, it would have not only helped Indo–Pak relations but also the cause of other sports, played in the sub-continent, only if a similar model could have been adopted.

Now that the damage is done, IPL should make an attempt to provision a re-invitation to the Pakistani players through some special format. One should not forget that as such there are lots of tensions across the border and that too for all wrong reasons, so let there be some reasons for the cricket lovers across the borders, and around the world, to celebrate!!


1 comment:

  1. The Indian state to earn the respect of International community, has to start making consistent decisions. On the one hand we are seeing AMAN KI ASHA and on the other hand the the IPL fiasco.
    Or is it just a much needed marketing gimmick before the third edition of the tournament.

    Yasir Yousuf
    FW 08-10