Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cricket diplomacy ~ 3000 visas to Pakistanis - Security - !?!


What is this fallacy ? – both on strategy and on strategic importance !!

Captain James Cook, the explorer made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean; the tall 6.2 Alastair Nathan Cook, exceed all expectations and has triumphed 2-1, leading to a Test Series victory after 28 years.  This left handed opener led from the front making runs in tons and was most difficult to be dislodged. From his Test debut in Mar 2006 against India, as a last-minute replacement for Marcus Trescothick, scoring a century on debut, he has progressed beyond.  

India should feel the pain caused by the hurt of defeat, else there would not be any lesson learnt nor any improvement.  There must be introspection, even it be at the cost of some heads rolling.  Had this been a professionally managed Board, you sure will see good amount of change.  But…. !! After the debacle in the Test Series, there is going to be more cricket ~ England plays 2 T20s and 5 One dayers – but one would sure be astonished by the schedule.  The first T20 is at Pune 1900 IST on 20/12; 2nd one on Sat Dec 22 at Mumbai ………………… and the first of the one dayer at Rajkot on 11th Jan 2013; yes 20 days later; 2nd ODI – Kochi on 15/1/13; 3rd at Ranchi on 19/1; 4th at Mohali on Jan 23 and final one at Dharamsala on 27th Jan 2013.

Little wonder knowing the BCCI and our habit of taking care of the interests of all others…..  in between the T20s and One dayers against England, India plays Pakistan in 2 T20s and 3 ODIs:  1st T20 at Bangalore – 25.12.12; 2nd T20 at Ahmedabad on 28.12.12;  1st ODI at Chepauk on 30.12; 2nd at Kolkata on 3/1/13 and 3rd at Delhi on 6/1/13.

More than Cricket, statistics, who will win, who will score, what will happen and all ~ I am more worried about the impact on our Nation. Yes this time away from Cricket.  They call it ‘Cricket diplomacy’ – some may still believe in it doing wonders but there is cause for grave concern when one reads the report  that the first match at Bangalore could be kicked off with the 3000 Pakistani ticket-holders for the series being issued Indian visas in less than ten days.  The tour has been pushed through via the highest levels of the government and cricket administration on both sides of the border. The PCB will be issued the 3000 tickets and will soon finalise and announce the mechanism to be put in place for the sale of the tickets. Of the total 3000 tickets, there will be 1000 for the match in Delhi and 500 for each of the other four cities. Pakistan citizens holding tickets to all five matches will be issued five-city visas, an unusual diplomatic practice in itself.

A four-man PCB recce team concluded its visit of India on Thursday, after travelling to each of the venues where the matches will be held. Ehsan Sadiq, the PCB's director of security and vigilance is the head of the delegation which includes Usman Wahla, manager international cricket, Sohail Khan, senior police officer of the Punjab Police and Nadeem Sarwar, general manager, media. Sarwar said that the issue of security will largely be left in the hands of the hosts.  What else it can be ~ it is no US President’s visit, to have a full-fledged security team flying along !!

All this at a time, when Pak has no International cricket played and only recently the Pak Interior Minister spoke so much out of turn and hostile against India on many issues, that too on Indian platform. 

In the past, there have been admitted instances of those having slipped into India under the garb of Cricket, mingling with the locals and not moving out of the Nation. What sort of Security threat it presents does not need any elaboration ! While Cricket tour of Pakistan in India itself seems unwarranted at this juncture, it looks diabolical to allow vast numbers of people travelling to watch the matches in India. Whose game plan is this ? and does Home Ministry which jumps to blame the neighbour in every terror related incident has something to say on this ?

When it comes to Cricket, more to BCCI and money, nothing is of concern. From the 2nd IPL, after the Mumbai terror attacks, no Pakistani player figured in any of the IPL franchisees………….. but you had Pak Umpire, Pak Coach, Pak commentator and……

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
19th Dec 2012.

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