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Posts Tagged ‘Cricket’

Global War on Terrorism: Cricket Edition

Posted by chakrabarti on January 25, 2010

I haven’t really cared for the carnival that is 20/20 ever since its inception (it became popular among South Asians pretty much by accident, following the 2007 edition of the World Twenty20), and haven’t really followed the shutout of Pakistani players from the next edition of IPL in any great detail. A friend posted his thoughts about the whole situation/debacle. A brief response in in order, I believe:

  • Obviously, merely facilitating cricket series between India and Pakistan is not going to untangle political disputes between the 2 countries, any more than organizing Israeli-Palestinian peace camps is going to hasten a latter-day Camp David. This is not to say that people-to-people contacts have no positive benefits at all, merely that these are long-term efforts¬† that have to be sustained over generations so as to reduce mistrust among both the societies, and get us to see the other as complex human beings, not just second-hand caricatures.
  • It’s pretty outlandish to scapegoat people who merely play cricket for a living, as casualties of the latest round of conflict between the two neighbors. Not the first time it’s happened, surely, but pretty silly nonetheless. Does anyone seriously believe denying Shahid Afridi and Younis Khan the ability to play in India, we are going to make radical Islamic groups and their many benefactors realize their folly and stop promoting violence against civilians across the border?
  • If the standard were banning players because of all the damage inflicted by a particular nation or government, then I don’t think the Men In Blue should ever set foot on the Premadasa Stadium, considering what the island nation to the south of India has been through for about the last 30 years, events which were in large part facilitated by successive governments of ours back in the ’80s. Nor should we even invite or ever play with English teams, given all the havoc wreaked on the entire subcontinent with colonization, de-industrialization and an assorted mix¬† of disastrous policies. Of course, it would be silly to hold Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen responsible for all that, so why this picking on Pakistanis? [Awkward silence]…
  • I think there is some justification in not drafting any Pakistanis because of issues related to security and profitability. Sport franchises are corporations looking to turn a quick buck and not offend anyone’s sensibilities in particular, so one can’t really blame them that much for the state of affairs, a view echoed by some. However, we would all be better off if no one pretended this to be the result of a principled decision to “not engage the enemy”. It is instead of not engaging grandstanding Shiv Sena thugs, combined with a center-left government eager to demonstrate it’s “anti-terrorism credentials” and unwilling to acknowledge the reality that inducting Pakistani players into a cricket tournament has little or no bearing on relations between the two South Asian neighbors.

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