Caution is the word
The entire cricketing world is waiting with bated breath to see which way the second round of the Jagmohan Dalmiya and Shahryar Khan dialogue will go. After all, any series featuring India and Pakistan is a deep-rooted blockbuster that every fan, promoter, media organisation and sponsor would like to capitalize upon.
That Jagmohan Dalmiya and Shahryar Khan share a mutual bondage will have no relevance if Modi is left to decide on reviving the cricket ties at a time when the Government is hard-pressed to answer the ‘where is Dawood’ question
The entire cricketing world is waiting with bated breath to see which way the second round of the Jagmohan Dalmiya and Shahryar Khan dialogue will go. After all, any series featuring India and Pakistan is a deep-rooted blockbuster that every fan, promoter, media organisation and sponsor would like to capitalize upon. In monetary terms, it is a sure-shot jackpot for everyone associated with the conduct of the extravaganza.
In a way, Sunday’s talks between the big bosses of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in the former’s backyard should be taken in right earnest as the first possible step towards shedding animosities and reviving cricketing ties between the two nations.
The relations have remained strained and for obvious reasons. Even though the two countries played against each other at neutral venues (the last being in the 2015 World Cup Down Under), a sense of personal rivalry exists between the players and the fans, which sends out the message that everything is not as cordial as the diplomats make it out to be. There is a well camouflaged bitterness all around, which snowballs into an on-field battle-cry.
If Khan made his intentions clear so did Jagmohan Dalmiya, the shrewd operator, who should be singularly credited for helping to revive the bilateral series after 17 years in wilderness. Dalmiya should be appreciated for putting the onus on the Union Government, which has to take the final call. This means that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be headed for yet another tight-rope walk involving the neighbour.
Any decision that the Centre takes could have far-reaching consequences and damning ramifications because the rivalry between New Delhi and Islamabad goes beyond the political battlefield. One could question the double standards that are employed with regard to Pakistan cricketers.
On the one hand sportspersons from non-cricketing disciplines can enter Indian soil and former Pakistan cricketers can take up commentary work but the current crop of players has to miss out on IPL action. Ironically, it was Dalmiya and Khan who initiated the 2004 tour after the Kargil war had frozen ties between the countries. They will be desperate for an encore to enhance their own individual status.
That they share a mutual bondage will have no relevance if Modi is left to decide on reviving the ties at a time when the Government is hard-pressed to answer the ‘where is Dawood’ question. PCB’s sense of urgency, which becomes pronounced, is understandable. The coffers are empty. A series with India will mean big bucks and earning legitimacy after years of excommunication.
Indeed, if BCCI looks at the larger picture it is PCB that needs the Big Brother and not the other way round. Indian fans are not as overly concerned about a series with the arch-rival as long as they get to enjoy quality cricket from any part of the world. As of now, India can perhaps consider playing Pakistan in the Middle East.