"Little can be done to alter unfair state of play without backing of ICC members": Fazeer Mohammed


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  1. #1
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    "Little can be done to alter unfair state of play without backing of ICC members": Fazeer Mohammed

    In his latest hard-hitting blog for PakPassion.net, Fazeer Mohammed explains why PCB, despite their protestations due to cancellations of tours by New Zealand and England, will find no sympathy for their cause amongst the cricketing world and even dominating world cricket will not bring any relief due to the climate of fear and prejudice which exists at the moment.

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    So after the outrage, what?

    There has been ample time since New Zealand’s abrupt abandonment and England’s cynical cancellation of their respective tours for enough details to emerge and therefore make very clear what has happened here.

    So let us not waste time and space beating around the bush. New Zealand didn’t trust their Pakistani counterparts enough to make them aware of the specifics of the presumed security threat while the English were just latching onto an excuse to duck out of a commitment they would prefer not to fulfil.

    Seeking redress from the International Cricket Council is merely procedural because the ICC is not a governing body in the real sense of the word but a tent under which the beggars of the global game come seeking favours from the rich and powerful.

    All these references to a “Western bloc” running the game primarily in their own interests essentially confirm what we know already. Weeping and wailing about this being a slap in the face for Pakistan cricket, and railing about defending the honour and dignity of the nation make for eye-catching headlines, readable stories and stir the emotions.

    But what next? Can anything be done by the Pakistan Cricket Board, either on their own or with the collaboration of others to change the prevailing dynamic and result in a more level playing field for all? Even if an attempt were to be made at radically altering the current state of play, dominated as it is by the triumvirate of India, England and Australia, it will not happen without serious consequences.

    New Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja has talked about growing and reinforcing the game within the country’s borders so that the sheer strength of the national team on the international stage will mandate others to want to come and challenge Pakistan in their own backyard.

    Just five years ago though Pakistan, if only briefly, were at the top of the Test rankings and were still playing almost all of their international cricket in the United Arab Emirates. So even if Babar Azam’s team were to travel almost everywhere, as they have been doing anyway in these pandemic times, and dominate everyone, there is nothing to suggest that in itself will be enough of an incentive for reluctant teams to want to tour Pakistan.

    At the end of the day this dilemma comes down to two things: fear and prejudice.

    Concerns about life and limb are inevitable when something like the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009 is still very much part of the cricketing memory. And now that the Taliban are back in control across the border in Afghanistan there would appear to be reason for additional hesitancy by those looking on from the outside.

    Drawing reference to terrorist attacks in London and elsewhere in the United Kingdom which didn’t even elicit a murmur of discontent from cricketing visitors at the time highlight the double-standards and hypocrisy and play, but ultimately do very little to change attitudes because nations outside of Asia, that “Western bloc” if you prefer, have historically been reluctant to tour Pakistan, and even when they do, they routinely travel with a readymade list of complaints relating to issues which have more to do with lifestyle than cricket.

    But back to the real issue at hand. What can the PCB do to alter an obviously unfair state of play?

    Well, unless they can get the backing of other ICC full members, the answer is nothing.

    Standing on principle is a commendable ideal. However in the real horse-trading world of international cricket, where the weaker nations go behind each other’s backs to make better deals with the power-brokers, even with a Future Tours Programme in place, it is optimistic in the extreme to think of any sort of united front, any sort of solidarity to break the existing mould which benefits a few and only offers crumbs to the rest.

    It would be nice to think of the West Indies, not just the administration but the top players, showing solidarity with Pakistan by touring as scheduled in December following the ICC Men's T20 World Cup. Yet the reality is that if the financial incentive isn’t encouraging enough some prominent or not-so-prominent names will opt out citing “security concerns” or “personal reasons.”

    That was the case in April of 2018 when a severely-weakened squad was thrashed in the three T20 Internationals in Karachi. And as an additional guide as to what can be expected as far as players’ attitudes, a handful of key players including then captain Jason Holder opted out of the tour of Bangladesh earlier this year because of COVID-19 concerns even though there was nothing to suggest they would be at any greater risk compared to playing in any other part of the world.

    So Pakistan cricket faces a huge challenge, one in which, sadly, they can expect very little real support from others under the ICC tent. Unless they can find the money to trump fear and prejudice or, miracle of miracles, those outside the “Big Three” can rally to challenge the status quo, the long-suffering fans starved of seeing their heroes take on the very best international teams at their own home venues will just have to endure the suffering for a while longer.

    It would be nice though to think of an elite cricketing world where something resembling justice and fairness can prevail.
    Last edited by MenInG; 24th September 2021 at 17:08.


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  2. #2
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    Thanks to Fazeer for putting it in black and white for us.


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  3. #3
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    That very well sums up what most of us have been saying. Showing displeasure and name calling is all fine (justified or not) but what are the concrete steps to be taken to change the status quo?
    make them feel guilty and ensure they come next year. Don't alienate them now by threatening to cut off the bonds forever. Put your foot in the door and keep it open

  4. #4
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    Fazeer not mincing his words, it remains a long dark road ahead for Pakistan cricket. Expecting favours from other boards is naivete.

  5. #5
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    Pakistan cricket's pain expressed in a video
    Last edited by MenInG; 25th September 2021 at 01:52.


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  7. #6
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    It was not so much what it did as the way it did it that made the England Cricket Board’s decision this week to welch on its deal to visit Pakistan so reprehensible.

    Four days of T20 internationals constituted barely a stop; more like a school drop-off. The airliner could have been left idling on the tarmac. So no wonder the Pakistan Cricket Board were wounded by the sheer insouciance of ECB chief executive Tom Harrison as he excused England’s cancelling its first visit in sixteen years.

    Unlike New Zealand’s David White, who at least received a government security warning ahead of withdrawing his players from Pakistan, Harrison cited a bit of stress (“The mental and physical wellbeing of our players and support staff remains our highest priority”), a bit of security (“increasing concerns about travelling to the region”), and a bit of self-serving nonsense (“We believe that touring under these conditions will not be ideal preparation for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup”).

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    But nor should we fool ourselves in Australia. This is the system Cricket Australia endorses, whereby we, alongside India and England, pick and choose our fixtures, trusting that nobody notices we’re now chiefly involved in a form of tri-national cricket: full-dress Test series at home; occasional token hurried white-ball excursions elsewhere.

    In the last two years, Australia has not played a single away Test — that’s as many as Ireland, whom the International Cricket Council promoted to Test status in June 2017 with Afghanistan in what now seems like a fit of absent-mindedness.

    These days, Australia seem to cancel more cricket than we play — our Test against Afghanistan is merely the latest can kicked down a road of indeterminate length.

    Why? Mammon obviously. Bilateral cricket is not what it was, now that it is rivalled by domestic T20. The Indian Premier League, the Big Bash League and now The Hundred all represent pivots away from the obligations of the ICC’s Future Tours Programme.

    And in troubled times like the present does franchise cricket come into its own, being sustainable in the face of Covid, impervious to the challenges of security, free of the complications of politics. You, not some foreign board, hand-pick the cricketers you want; you control their deployment. After all, who needs the inconvenience of Afghanistan, now with this additional Taliban thorniness, when all you really want is Rashid Khan?

    Tours, when they take place at all, are already shadows of what they were: stripped of warm-up matches, wedded to a cycle of travel-train-play, perfunctorily performed by jaded, hotel-bound cricketers on pitches routinely doctored by their hosts, and over almost as soon as they begin.

    We’re always being assured that this is temporary, the best we can do in the meantime, that normal service will eventually be resumed. But what if this is the new normal? Because one possible and certainly logical conclusion is that tours, except those that make money, will be allowed to slide quietly into obsolescence — effectively an orderly liquidation of bilateral cricket, from which certain valuable properties (the Ashes, Border-Gavaskar etc) and playing assets will be extracted, leaving the calendar free for unencumbered capitalist exploitation.

    Another step along this path will be taken three weeks hence, when the Board of Control for Cricket in India auction the first of two new IPL franchises, calculated to extend the next edition of the tournament from 60 to 74 games. Will it stop there? Will it heck. For as long as there remain entrepreneurial backers and cricketers falling over themselves to partake of the league’s lush rewards, the economics appear inexorable.

    Someone didn’t tell Pakistan this. Because politics preclude the involvement of Pakistan’s players in the IPL, the PCB remain international cricket’s true believers, striving tirelessly to revive cricket for their own fans, disgracefully marginalised by their most traditional and lucrative opponent, and willing to go anywhere — as they were, for example, to the ECB, when England’s 2020 season was menaced by Covid.

    As Mike Atherton put it succinctly in The Times this week: “At the time of Pakistan’s arrival last year, Covid death rates in this country (England) were the third-highest in the world, more than 150 times the rate in Pakistan. Still Pakistan came, keeping who knows how many professional cricketers and support staff in their jobs.” The ECB’s sorry-not-sorry, then, recalled Shashi Tharoor’s line about the sun never setting on the empire because the English could not be trusted in the dark.

    This is the bit where you insert: well, the International Cricket Council should jolly well do something about this. But the moment you say that, you know you are out of answers, because the ICC has been cynically undermined by its leading members for much of the last decade, to the point where it is little more than an events management business with a vestigial development arm. Australia bears a heavy responsibility for that.

    But maybe, just maybe, CA can now set an example. In February next year, Australia is scheduled to play two Tests, three one-day international and three T20 internationals in Pakistan — our first visit for 24 years.

    Except that we’re now hesitating. When New Zealand slipped out the side door, we started to sound like we had similar plans: CA would “talk with the relevant authorities once more information becomes known”.

    What might players be thinking in the circumstances? That it all sounds a bit hard? That maybe there’ll be the chance to put their feet up ahead of the next IPL? To us it might feel more important that the Ashes go ahead this season; to cricket’s welfare, Australia’s tour of Pakistan would be the greater

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/spo...16f92df8c4cb46


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  8. #7
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    Eggs are in one basket, as Imran Khan has recently said.

    Could be dangerous and risky.




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