It was a nifty strategy from the BCCI not to mention any name in the letter it wrote to the ICC asking it to sever ties with countries from where terror emanates. Faced with such a letter, ideally speaking, the ICC would have had to send its representatives to various member countries to check whether they were exporting terror. And anything that will keep the ICC away from actively managing cricket should be welcomed wholesomely.
Because this is the governing body that recently banned a captain for slow over rate in a 5-day Test match that ended in 3 days. If the ICC were in charge of the Titanic, it would have served a show-cause notice to the band for not playing music in the waters.
“The contract was for the entire journey. Just because they sank and died is no real excuse to not continue playing. The musicians have been slapped with 3 demerit points,” the ICC’s press release would have read. “We are waiting to hear the response of the dead musicians,” the ICC spokesperson added.
Coming back to India’s letter, the ICC seems to have said that it has no real role to play in such matters. Which is a tad disappointing from India’s perspective, as India would have hoped that ICC would at least ban Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for his involvement in --- the ICC surely has a dossier on this --- slow over rate at the 1992 World Cup.
Okay, just kidding.
But with the ICC washing its hands off the matter, the ball is firmly in the BCCI’s court. Ever since the court-appointed CoA (Committee of Administrators) took charge, the affairs of the BCCI have become difficult to comprehend and nobody, which includes all the members involved actively, has a clue as to what is happening.
The CoA was appointed to straighten out the mess in the BCCI. After its arrival, sure enough the problems of the BCCI don’t seem that big. The CoA has pulled this off through the simple expedience of creating bigger troubles of its own.
Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji. (PTI Image)
We recently came across this line that precisely conveys the situation as it exists now in Indian cricket administrative setup: “One of his first tasks of the the court-recommended ombudsman will be to look into the sexual harassment charges hanging over the court-recommended CEO.”
So in the prevailing circumstances, we should be happy that though the BCCI did not mention Pakistan by name, it at least sent a letter that at least mentions the ICC as the addressee.
Now to the question, whether India should play Pakistan in the World Cup or not? If you stop any reasonable person at any junction in any Indian city and pose this question, he or she will immediately tell you to get lost because stopping a person, howsoever reasonable he or she may be, at a junction is bad manners.
Also, good luck finding a reasonable person in these times.
Anyway, if you ask the sports experts in the media they will talk in great detail about the whole issue and in the end will tell you that this is not a matter for sports heads to decide and only the government has to take a call. You can wonder why the sports experts don’t say, right at the start, “This is a governmental issue, we have nothing to opine on this.” If they had said as much at the outset itself, they would not get to occupy much air time, which, when you come down to it, is the sole function of any expert.
Okay, what is the government’s considered view on India playing Pakistan in this World Cup? The government, we are told, is mulling a strategy on this. Knowing the government, it might involve a brave plan to ask all the players to take the field sporting Abhinandan Varthaman’s mutton chops moustache and the Indian commentators to shout “Jai Hind” after every six hit by an Indian batsman.
Meanwhile, there has also been a suggestion that with the ICC scotching India’s plans to get the Pakistan cricket team banned, the BCCI should come out of the ICC and float a parallel, rebel ICC --- much on the lines of the Packer world series cricket in the late 70s. As a strategy that this has the same common sense as that of burning an entire house to get rid of pesky mice.
Also, imagine India leading the ICC. One headline we can surely foresee is: “The court-appointed committee today filed a plea in the court saying that the court had no locus standi to constitute such a committee to look after the affairs of the ICC. Responding to the plea, the Supreme Court today sent a notice to the Supreme Court.”
As you can see, there are no easy answers to how to tackle the whole issue of India playing Pakistan in the World Cup. But India should not lose hope since just because ICC has nixed its proposal, all is still not lost. If only India can provide credible proof of Pakistan’s involvement in the heinous crime of possible slow over rates in future, the ICC will be only too happy to invoke a ban.
First Published: March 6, 2019, 11:56 AM IST