Saturday, March 21, 2009

Political Stability required for Resurrection of Pak Cricket

The international cricket series to be played between Pakistan and Bangladesh was postponed in the aftermath of the Lahore attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team and now has been put on hold because of security in Bangladesh. However for Pakistan cricket to get back on track, it is important that should return to the country a degree of political stability which can give the cricket fraternity the assurance that Pak cricket is on the road to recovery and a safe place to host international cricket matches.

The current political situation in Pakistan is not one that inspires confidence in anyone, least of all the international cricket fraternity. The President is at the receiving end of ultimatums from the army to put its house in order, it has had to give into extremist forces within the country to broker peace which has resulted in compromising the sovereignty of its territory; things are far from stable or secure. That there is a political crisis in the country is undeniable.
Inevitably this has reflected on the cricket community in Pakistan, with those connected with cricket in Pak coming out in the cricket news as saying that political stability was a prerequisite to any kind of stability in cricket. The Chief Operating Officer of the Pakistan cricket board, Saleem Altaf was quoted as having said that international cricket's return to Pakistan hinges on political stability in the country, essential to ensure a secure environment for touring teams.
It is widely perceived in Pak that cricket is imperiled in the country. Neutral venues for playing any series with other sides in international cricket is far from an ideal solution, but at this time it is the only one available to Pak. "I think we are already mentally preparing to play that series at neutral venues as that is the only option available to us at this stage unless there is stability in the country," Altaf was quoted in the cricket news as saying.
He admitted that the situation within Pak looked bad to the rest of the world and that it had to improve before the situation in Pak cricket improved. “Once there is political stability in the country and a secure environment teams will return to play international cricket. The rest of the world sees the situation in Pakistan as volatile and unless that perception changes with time, it is very difficult for the Pakistan Cricket Board to convince teams to come here," he added.
Although it had been announced at the beginning of the month that the Aussie team would be playing Pak at a neutral venue, there has been no recent conformation of this news. The PCB also faces the problem of fining neutral venues for the New Zealand tour later in the year.

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