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Thursday, January 3, 2013

safety threat in Pakistan - Bangladesh cancels tour

BCCI is big and  all powerful ~ above everything… Bangladesh Board  is small and is not rich; Srilankan board recently adjusted their International schedule in such a manner allowing time for IPL window. 

Pakistan had many teams touring their land ~ all that changed on 3rd Mar 2009, when a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers, part of a larger convoy, was fired upon by 12 gunmen, near the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan. The cricketers were on their way to play the third day of the second Test against the Pakistani cricket team. Six members of the Sri Lanka national cricket team were injured. Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed.

The safety of touring cricket teams in Pakistan had long been in issue. In May 2002, New Zealand abandoned their Test series in Pakistan after a suicide bomb attack outside their hotel.  In fact, the Sri Lankan cricket team was in Pakistan as a replacement for the Indian team, who had pulled out after the Mumbai attacks and Pak had offered to arrange "presidential-style security. Pakistan have had to play their “home” matches in venues ranging from Dubai to London ever since that shooting.

The not so powerful Bangladesh Cricket Board announced that it had shelved on safety grounds a planned cricket tour of Pakistan, which would have been the first by an international team since a 2009 militant attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus. It was stated that  a team of BCB and Bangladesh government jointly visited Pakistan to ascertain the security situation.  The two teams were scheduled to play a Twenty20 and a one-day international on January 12 and 13 respectively, both in Lahore. BCB president Nazmul Hassan told reporters the proposed tour had been put off indefinitely amid fears over players’ safety, following protests by Bangladeshis and a Facebook campaign against the visit. Anti-Pakistan sentiment still runs strong in the country, which was part of Pakistan until 1971 when it won independence after a nine-month war.

Bangladesh had earlier agreed to tour Pakistan in April 2012 but the visit was blocked by the Dhaka high court.  Hassan said that he feared Pakistan might now bar its own cricketers from playing in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) in response to the decision. In the first edition back in February, 20 Pakistani players featured in the tournament, with all-rounder Shahid Afridi fetching $700,000 in an auction of stars — the highest amount paid. More than 50 Pakistani players have already been bought at an auction for the second edition of the tournament, beginning on January 17. Officials said the BPL would go ahead even if Pakistan did not allow its cricketers to play.

The Telegraph reported recently that one of Pakistan's most notorious suspected extremist leaders has been arrested in Lahore after returning from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, according to local police. According to Telegraph  Malik Ishaq, leader of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is accused of inciting sectarian hatred and masterminding the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.

That terror attacks on the Sri Lankan cricketers made cricket insurance more expensive in the Indian subcontinent. Risk perception for the entire Indian sub-continent — India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — nosedived with the threat of terrorism.  Initially Test matches were insured against ‘natural forces – rain’ stopping the rain – later reduced to indemnity only when the match gets washed out without a ball being bowled.  IPL shifted the focus from the team to individual players; reportedly IPL franchisees bought personal accident cover for team members from a state-owned company with reinsurance support from the international market.

Whatever it be, Pak players are playing in India, and India is enriching the coffers of Pak Board ~ while Ministers cry from rooftops that support to terrorism is happening unabated from across the border

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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