Tons of articles will be written about the 180 run defeat of Indian cricket team by Pakistan. That how the captaincy was amateurish, how the pathetic bowling was surpassed only by more pathetic batting, what could have been the batting, fielding changes, how the current captain isn’t captaincy material , or how the match could have been fixed etc etc etc. Post mortem of a sporting event becomes a waste of time sooner than milk kept out of the refrigerator goes bad.
I’m not writing about any of it. The overrated Indian team can be knocked out in the first round of irrelevant ICC events like this for the next four years for all one cares. And let those imbecile comparisons between Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar/ Viv Richards continue. Let the lionization of the Dhawans, Sharmas and Jadejas continue like they are the best thing to have happened to cricket . Until the next big loss overseas. Neither am I going by the clichéd reaction of look how well our hockey team is playing, because it is really funny that no one in India even remembers that hockey exists unless the cricket team suffers a humiliating loss.
I’m writing about the fact that this victory means that a terrorist nation that is the hotbed of a murderous ideology can wave this victory on our face. A rogue country that has to be isolated from every forum of the world now gets an opportunity to show off, to come into the mainstream, to invite others to visit their hellhole to play cricket and to legitimise whatever their country and ruling regime stands for (Its no secret that like most other things in Pakistan, the army has a huge say in how PCB is run). This is not about sulking that India lost to Pakistan. True, it is bad to lose to them, and bad to see your players humiliating themselves, but that’s not the point. The very act of allowing a terrorist nation in a sporting event is damaging.
Europe has been rocked by jihadi violence, just two weeks before the final, there was a suicide bombing in London which killed 22.
ICC is the worst sports body in the world for two reasons:-
One because it aims at stunting the very sport it is made for. There is literally no worthwhile plan to up the standard of the game in associate member countries (Cricket is played at club level in more than fifty countries, but no real effort is made to get them to the standard required) of the ICC like Ireland, Netherlands, Afghanistan, Hong Kong etc which show some spark of promise. Ireland cricket team remains nothing more than a recruiting ground for England cricket team. The number of teams are to be brought down to ten in the further ICC tournaments. Whereas other sporting bodies are trying all the time to get their sport to be played by newer nations, ICC is going in the opposite direction.
Two and most importantly, it has been, since more than half a century, giving legitimacy to a terrorist state via sports glory. A terrorist state carved out by massacring and raping more than a million Hindus and Sikhs, a terrorist state owned by a rogue army, a terrorist state which is a gun for hire by other vested interests to weaken India, a terrorist state which is the epicentre of global jihad industry further made lethal by the military mullah joint collaboration.
Cricket like cross border terrorism, is seen by the military mullah combine as a potent tool to ascertain dominance over kafirs, every victory over them is a symbolic assertion of superiority.
The influx of Tableeghi Jamat into Pakistan cricket dressing room has for quite sometime now, made the display of Islamic symbols mandatory , viz namaz by players , beginning every answer by “thanks to allah almighty” are some examples. Cricketers who don’t tow the line, are simply sidelined. Younis Khan was forced to step down from the captaincy by fellow cricketers, Shoaib Akhtar too, lost his prominence rapidly post 2003.
Those belonging to other religions are either made to convert or are sidelined permanently. Christian Yousuf Youhana, via continous persuation by the likes of Inzamam and Saeed Anwar became Mohammad Yusuf. Hindu Danish Kaneria , the highest wicket taking spinner in tests for Pakistan too lost his place was unfortunately sunk in spot fixing row, which again many Pakistani players are accused of.
A low point was reached in 2007 World T 20 final, where India defeated Pakistan and Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik ,a product of Zia era, who was preferred over Younis Khan to succeed Inzamam as the captain because he had apologised to the world’s Muslims for the loss. It didn’t matter that the man of the match for India was Irfan Pathan!
Compare this 1997 clip where Saeed Anwar after his then world record 194 runs with the last decade and a half Pakistani cricketer interviews which look more like sermons:-
And look at him today:-
Pakistan players leave no stone unturned to convert the players in other teams :-
And who can forget this gem:-
SO when you say that India and Pakistan should have strong ties, what exactly do you want to import to the country?
Why cannot BCCI simply boycott all ICC events where Pakistan team is involved?
India amounts for 70% of the world’s cricket revenue , hence this bogey of disciplinary action by ICC holds no weight. The day ICC bans India from cricket, cricket as an industry dies. That’s a fact.
ICC needs to take action against Pakistan for misusing the international sporting event for religious events at every opportunity. All these religious statements and religious symbolism in post match presentation has to be clamped down. Sporting events have no place for religious symbols and promotion.
If South Africa can be banned from all sporting events for 21 years due to apartheid, why cannot Pakistan be banned for abetting terrorism?
The reason is that like most other institutions in India, BCCI too is a spineless organization which puts profit and image over national security and pride. That is why we see no real reaction from BCCI till they are arm twisted by the govt to avoid playing Pakistan.
Boycott ICC events till Pakistan is a part of it. Play bilateral series in the meantime. As it is, ICC events have little meaning today (including the so called world cup) because since the late 1990s, the number of one day internationals played every year has increased a lot. Add T20 cricket to it and you see further trivialization of such events.
Isolation doesn’t just mean diplomatic level initiatives. It has to extend to every field, may it be politics, foreign relations, and public as well. When you play a match against Pakistan or , you give a message that it is a country just like us. That we have no problem with it. That it has done no harm to India. When you employ their actors you are doing a disservice to the nation. By doing this you waste the efforts of our security agencies and diplomacy, you spit on the blood that our soldiers have spilled, you laugh at the plight of the villagers on the border who get their homes destroyed by Pakistani shelling. You prove that you are a nation without self respect which puts entertainment and profit above honour and self preservation.
And you want the world to respect you and want to become a superpower. Keep dreaming.