Bangladesh’s scrapped tour

Published: April 20, 2012

The writer is Sports Editor of The Express Tribune and author of the book Champions, again. [email protected]

What would 140 overs of Pakistan-Bangladesh cricket in Lahore have achieved?

Absolutely nothing for the improvement of the sport’s standards in Pakistan; nothing to help revive the dearth of international cricket in the country; and nothing to quench the thirst of fans.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in its much-publicised bid to ‘give home fans what they wanted’, termed the proposed, much-discussed and deliberated tour an ice-breaking act, one that would force other teams to follow suit. However, an earlier confirmation that Pakistan was to go back to its nomadic days in August — when it hosts Australia in Sri Lanka — gives that very ice a stronger bond.

But as the yes, no, wait, yes from Bangladesh, even had the most indecisive of runners feeling great about life, priorities — not for the first time — lay severely misplaced. Pakistan, after several calls, found itself stranded, helpless and hapless. They reached the situation with adequate and advance warnings, though, as the opposition waned, swayed and wilted at crucial junctures. Former captain Zaheer Abbas had predicted this scenario as soon as the PCB made public its backing for Mustafa Kamal for the post of the International Cricket Council’s vice-president.

The whirlwind tour would have given Zaka Ashraf what he had engraved at the top of his to-do list from day one: bring back international cricket. This tour, however, would have hardly achieved the real objective. In order to achieve personal milestones — to accomplish what his much-detested, yet trusting and outspoken predecessor could not — Ashraf lost the plot somewhere in his early days, which was as much his fault as his aides, who sketched and contrived his each move and reply.

The emphasis with regard to the tour, it seemed, was on a team setting foot in Pakistan and not how it would benefit the local cricketers who — according to the PCB — have suffered immensely following the Lahore attack. Tour matches, for those who are knocking on the doors, are key for them to put their foot in. If it was really for the public, the entry for the matches would have been free — despite the PCB’s financial state — and watching a cricket match would have brought more joy than pain. The Lahore crowd wouldn’t have been the only ones showing their love for cricket.

The players — on both sides — would’ve been free to enact their trade without fear of being attacked, of playing under pressure and being watched not only by the 20,000-plus crowd but also by around 3,000 security officials — from all corners and rooftops. If Bangladesh were fully satisfied with the security arrangements and the situation in Pakistan, a full tour would have taken place and Kamal would have taken his own people into confidence before the handshake in Dubai.

But nothing of that sort happened. In the end, the court order is a lesson for the Pakistan authorities. The invitations seemed to have turned into pleading, stooping to new lows with nothing tangible in return. One minute a bilateral series against India is the need of the day, the next minute you term them cowards. The locals, judging by the attendance at bigger centres like Karachi and Lahore, are content with watching Pakistan on TV rather than the stadiums. And it is not as if the team is being isolated — 2011 was wonderful for Pakistan cricket with much more of the same following this year too, all at stadiums not in the country.

The continued snub of Pakistan cricket is not being endorsed here — the grounds, the players, the fans, and even the game need it. But when stubbornness is the order of play, reality is rejected, sanity is rebuffed and materialistic motives are alimented, even those earnestly hoping for an improvement sit back.

Cricket must come back to these shores and stay here. For that, logic must overcome obstinacy.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2012.

Reader Comments (30)

  • politicaly incorrect
    Apr 21, 2012 - 1:49AM

    Bangladesh court is influenced by BCCI. Also Bangladeshis are mostly ex-hindus.So there is no surprise.

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  • faraz
    Apr 21, 2012 - 1:57AM

    A stadium should be constructed in the middle of a desert. Landing strip should be built to land aircraft carrying the players. Stadium should be surrounded by rings of defense lines consisting of barb wires, trenches, minefields, anti-tank ditches, anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns emplacements to prevent suicide bombers from attacking through the land or air. Constant air patrolling must be carried out. And date of the match should be kept secret; match should be recorded and shown on TV the next day.

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  • adnan
    Apr 21, 2012 - 2:01AM

    Grapes are Sour!

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  • Arindom
    Apr 21, 2012 - 3:02AM

    PCB can always invite Afghanistan – they’ll feel at home…

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  • Strategic depth
    Apr 21, 2012 - 3:11AM

    For those who have been at the helm of affairs in this country, if any one of you is reading this comment or read any of the news that grace our dailies….I must say what planning, execution and results. Lowest of the lowly is our reality. Wether it was India, Bangladesh or Jupiter, I totally endorse their opinion…who would want to risk their lives for a nation that cannot even provide security to its own people.

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  • Fatima
    Apr 21, 2012 - 3:33AM

    @ Faras, Dude, how many of your country men living in UK actually like to mingle with Bengali Community?
    mostly making jokes and fun about their habits, language if not appearence!
    you may not find enough Bengali Community in Edgware but check out the compitition in East London.

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  • SaudiRules
    Apr 21, 2012 - 3:58AM

    @faraz,
    How do you know the pilots wont crash the plane on the landing with international players on board? :). Unless, we (i mean the khakis) make effort to get rid of all the ‘non-state’ actors (patriotic and otherwise), nobody is coming to pakistan to play cricket.

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  • M.S.Choudhury
    Apr 21, 2012 - 7:55AM

    @ Fatima, yes you make jokes and fun about us (Bangladeshi), however, do you realize what the rest of the world is thinking about you.I was bit sad that the court has asked for halting the tour,but after reading the comments of some of you I feel the court has taken the right decision.

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  • realist
    Apr 21, 2012 - 8:00AM

    Actually the brits introduced crickect just killed all other sports in SAsia. Hopefully, crickect will lose shine giving chance to other sports not just in Pak but also in entire S Asia.

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  • Mirza
    Apr 21, 2012 - 8:10AM

    @SaudiRules:
    @faraz:
    I could not have agreed with you guys any more. Thanks and regards,
    Mirza

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  • Fatima
    Apr 21, 2012 - 9:58AM

    @M.S.Choudhury:
    Apparently I’m the only one who can under stand you as I’m my self Half Bengali and Half Pakistani !

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  • Ajamal
    Apr 21, 2012 - 11:44AM

    Being a Pakistani, I fully endorse rest of the world not agreeing to play in Pakistan. The issue is about security to Pakistanis, and not about fool-proof, presidential security (big joker Malik would have done better on any talk show), to the visitors.

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  • S.Murthy
    Apr 21, 2012 - 12:27PM

    When visiting teams are not sure of their security, who is to blame, the host country or the visiting teams? as a comment suggests, to say that Bangladeshis are unwilling to tour because they are ex-Hindus. What has religion or nationality got to do with security? If you want to be ignorant and call everybody a coward, so be it! Visiting teams can’t be expected to be foolhardy.Recommend

  • observer
    Apr 21, 2012 - 1:24PM

    @politically incorrect

    Bangladesh court is influenced by BCCI. Also Bangladeshis are mostly ex-hindus.So there is no surprise.

    So are the Sindhis. Remember Bin Qasim and Sindh?

    And so are the Kashmiris. Remember Kashmiri Pandits?

    And so are the Pushtuns, Remember the Bamiyan Budhas?

    And so are the Punjabis, Remember the resistance the Islamic heroes faced in their incursions to India?

    So which one are you?

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  • Apr 21, 2012 - 2:35PM

    @politicaly incorrect:

    “Bangladeshis are mostly ex-hindus.So there is no surprise.”

    Your forefathers were also Hindus. They didn’t come from Arabia, they belonged to the Pagan practices of HInduism. The trouble began when Mughals arrived. All that tolerance which is also the bedrock of Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism, which emerged out of India, just went down the drain.

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  • yajsingh
    Apr 21, 2012 - 3:08PM

    @politicaly incorrect And Pakistanis are Arabs so they work their life out in & for Saudi but never get citizenship, cannot buy a property or marry a Saudi girl.

    Time for some facts:
    B’desh is no longer your colony. Its a sovereign country (meaning terrorist don’t run loose and birds fly in their sky not drones) and is capable of taking their own decisions.
    Incase you don’t read or missed to notice, B’desh media has right from start criticized this decision on BCB – so this petition comes as no surprise.

    Just incase you missed to see what’s happening around you on a daily basis;
    1. TTP clashes with Haqqani but guess what? neither police nor army dare intervene
    2. Bannu happens to be in Pakistan
    3. Everyday couple dozen humans are killed in Karachi for belong to a sect (and thats a crime!)
    4. Gilgit and Balochistan are inaccessible to international press or visitors
    5. The most recent suicide attack (both in Afghanistan & US) has Pakistani connection (no surprises here!)

    Btw, all these are non-existant in B’desh or in rest of the world (except maybe Afghanistan or Sudan) and therefore, exercise our choice to avoid Pakistan.

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  • ozair mustafa
    Apr 21, 2012 - 3:09PM

    No big deal , we should withdraw the invitation, as cant take this disgrace any more.

    The improtant queation in my mind why who attached the Sri Lankan team and how it happened so easily , why no resistance was put up.

    Where is the report ???.

    The original rot is there , if that kind of incident had not happened , now with present situation cricket whould be surely being played.

    Now we must withdraw the invitation and wait and hope for best in the meantime try to improve our internal structure and ensure no fixing type happens again.

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  • gujranwala987
    Apr 21, 2012 - 3:12PM

    Bangladesh has all the right to stop their cricket team touring pakistan, security might not be an important issue in pakistan but in the civilised world it is the ultimate issue, life is important for the people living in the civilised parts of the world.

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  • politicaly incorrect
    Apr 21, 2012 - 3:17PM

    @observer

    I am of Arab descend. Happy now.

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  • observer
    Apr 21, 2012 - 3:49PM

    @Politically Incorrect

    @observer
    I am of Arab descend. Happy now.

    So what is a ‘pure blood’ like you doing in the midst of the ‘mud bloods’.

    Incidentally, I don’t recall any Arab women coming with the invading hordes. Any historical references?

    Just to make me happier.

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  • Mohammad Assad
    Apr 21, 2012 - 4:50PM

    Overall this tour would be inconsequential since even in 2009, when we were to hold the champions trophy 5 out of the 9 teams refused to come….despite us holding a successful Asia cup a few months before..so even if BD would come, it wouldnt mean the countries would as well..

    However, given the circumstances..this tour would have done wonders in making the PPL a success, and the PPL could then in turn lead to more and more international players coming and playing in Pakistan….and eventually lead to international teams coming as well.

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  • Khalid
    Apr 21, 2012 - 5:06PM

    Not to worry- I am sure PCB will get even with Bangladesh somehow , it’s just a matter of time.

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  • IZ
    Apr 21, 2012 - 6:11PM

    People getting emotional need to clam down a bit. Yes, it is unfortunate that the Bangladesh tour is off and also in such a terrible manner, but obviously the BCB, much like the PCB in recent times has not been a board that has handled its brief in either an intelligent or graceful manner.

    Many of the Bangladeshi players don’t want to play in Pakistan. Fair enough, forcing them to do so will only give us a mockery of a cricket series. While security issues have been improving, one has only to glance at the headlines to understand that they are still a mess and that we need to do much better in that department.

    In the mean time the PCB needs to focus on consolidating the gains of the national team in recent years and improving the domestic game. Lets focus on the series against Australia and Sri Lanka. Thats much more important than this kerfuffle.

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  • Knotty
    Apr 21, 2012 - 6:30PM

    As a Pakistani I must admit that it is a right decision.
    .
    Though security situation in MOST of the Pakistan is not that bad, there is a chance of terrorism when there is some worthy target (like Sri Lankan team).
    .
    We should either wait till things get better OR make one city (old or newly created) as a high security area where we can safely host such events. Pakistan in its current state is not safe for any big event!
    .
    World is not noticing when BD team is not coming, but the World media will destroy our image even further if there is some mishap against a visiting team.

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  • Apr 21, 2012 - 6:46PM

    @politicaly incorrect:

    Bangladesh court is influenced by BCCI. Also Bangladeshis are mostly ex-hindus
    I am of Arab descend. Happy now

    Ah, guess that excuses everything…Arabs I knew weren’t exactly the most academic bunch. Made fun of our cricket. Rather bigoted too. I see where we get the conspiracy nuttery from. What? If we’re going to be politically incorrect i.e. rude, prejudiced and untruthful…Hey, relax, I’m Arab descend too, who probably were ex-pagans pre-Islam. Don’t worry fellow Pakistanis and Bangladeshis…no superiority complex or delusion here…it’s just not cricket! ;)

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  • Ali
    Apr 21, 2012 - 8:28PM

    The 2008 Asia Cup is a great example of Pakistan’s ills. Prior to the Asia their were major security concerns from all sides so much so that the tour was almost scrapped. When the tour did go ahead India vs Pakistan matches were not packed houses from ball one. Bangladesh came to Pakistan in 2008 as well and again we did not get packed houses. More importantly we should stop treating Bangladesh as if they are insignificant. The fact of the matter is Pakistan has had 11 T20 domestic tournaments which usually get great turn outs. Yet not once has the PCB decided to take the tournament to Quetta or Peshawar. I wonder why?

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  • Chulbul Pandey
    Apr 21, 2012 - 8:37PM

    As a big Cricket fan myself, I can understand why people in Pakistan want the return of international Cricket to their country. Watching the local heroes play in front of home crowd… cheering for home team…. electric sub continent environment during matches…. There is no other experience like it.
    However, one must respect a guest’s decision to not accept the invitation. Bangladesh team has its concerns, so do other teams. Mocking them, calling them cowards, ex-Hindus etc etc might come across as being ignorant and arrogant hosts.
    Pakistan, the best way to handle this would be to not lose heart and take care of the business at home so everybody feels secure and in turn want to travel/visit your country.
    I, myself, have heard so much about Pakistani hospitality and the beautiful city Karachi that I would like to visit Pakistan some day when things are a lot better.
    - An Indian Cricket fan

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  • Skin Taj
    Apr 22, 2012 - 3:25PM

    “”"We did so much for you, we helped you get the test status. We were the first test team that you were able to beat in an ODI. We even sent our players to your premier league. We told you time and again that we will give you presidential level security. Our dearest interior minister gave you a briefing himself. We were even willing to support your chairman’s bid for the ICC vice-presidency. Last but not the least we were one country once and even then we used to do so much for you but just like then you broke our heart. You changed your mind when it mattered the most. Should we now boycott your premier league ? Should we not tour you in the future ? Should we not support your ICC’s vice-presidency bid????”"”

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  • khan
    Apr 22, 2012 - 5:20PM

    Bangladesh has all the rights to do whatever she wants but the question arises that why were we so down to earth and sympathetic towards Bangladesh? I guess we have downgraded our worth and if things like this keep on happening rest of the world will take us for granted! We just need to wait fir a year or more and once Imran becomes our prime minister he’ll revive the cricket and in addition to it all other sports. We dont want any of low level teams to tour Pakistan and this would hardly change anything!
    Inshallah we will become a great nation one day!

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  • H chaudhry
    Apr 24, 2012 - 8:52AM

    I really question PCB here. Why do we need intl cricket in middle of crisis. Why can’t PCB not make best of the situation and do good for domestic cricket.

    What good can Pakistan gain from playing club level team of Bangladesh ? It is no coincidence we have defeated them in every thing since forever and a domestic team from Karachi , Lahore can beat them. There is nothing to gain from playing Bangls, no offense to them but they’re jut no good.

    Pay attention to improve cricket here PCB, sad news is that it will be while before there is any I to cricket in Paki.

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