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Dubious doublespeak

Dubious doublespeak
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Dubious doublespeak. One has to give it to both Islamabad and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for taking diplomacy to hitherto unfathomable lows.

One has to give it to both Islamabad and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for taking diplomacy to hitherto unfathomable lows. The singular intention of the bravado that emanates from across the border is apparently meant to save their faces back home, and perhaps be in the good books of their global ‘friends’. The double-edged sword that PCB dangles every other day stems from apprehensions about complete isolation. Even more dramatic is the remarkable finesse with which the mandarins do a U-turn.

PCB chief Shahryar Khan is an ‘honourable’ man especially for the suave manner he dovetails his masters’ agenda. The latest instance of his verbal turnaround comes within a span of 36 hours. He exposed his, and in effect the PCB’s, desperation on Sunday when he virtually pleaded with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to pave the path for resumption of a bilateral series. Stung by the adverse reactions from a revered icon, the former diplomat on Tuesday came up with a face-saving “we are not running after BCCI,” rhetoric that ought to be read between the lines and certainly not at its face-value.

There is no denying that Javed Miandad was bang on target when he urged Khan not to play against India at the cost of their self-respect. Little do they realise that New Delhi is sending across the same ‘self-respect’ message, albeit in a guarded manner. BCCI Secretary and thoroughbred politician Anurag Thakur has played his cards rather well with his pointblank ‘cricket and terror’ cannot go hand in hand counter.
If Shahryar Khan has reiterated that Dawood Ibrahim is not in the country it is because he is under immense pressure to ensure that a series does happen, at least in a neutral country. Should it transpire, then the coup would mean two critically important things for Islamabad – getting loads of money and, more importantly, a global acceptance.
Using clichéd pointers like “politics and sports should not be mixed” have no meaningful impact given the mistrust that exists.
One wonders where the likes of Khan were when Bollywood film ‘Phantom’ was banned in Pakistan because one of the central characters in the movie bore a striking similarity to one of the world’s Most Wanted man. It is one thing to urge New Delhi to ensure that BCCI honours the MoU signed with PCB to play six series between 2015 and 2023 and quite another to talk of survival despite BCCI’s unwillingness to play a series. All said and done, the rivalry between the two neighbours goes beyond the cricketing battleground.
Political blackmail assumed a new dimension when Khan literally sought ‘reward’ for backing ICC’s Big Three (ECB and Cricket Australia being the other two), failing which Pakistan would withdraw support. Nothing could be more preposterously ludicrous considering that there is a boisterous welcome for Team India everywhere while Pakistan could only convince Bangladesh to play a series on its soil.
Editor: Prof K Nageshwar
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