How Rivalry Between India & Pakistan Spills Onto Sport

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SRINAGAR: The dark clouds hovering over the proposed bilateral cricket series between India and Pakistan suggest that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appears to be playing spoilsport over playing with Pakistan. This putative development has rendered the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) up in arms and angry.

India and Pakistan signed an MOU to play six bilaterals between now and 2022 which amount to one a year.   There’s basically two options:the MoU should either  be honored or scrapped. Rather than taking recourse to gamesmanship and rhetorical games people who matter should take a call on the issue: either go by the spirit of the MOU or cancel it.

 The air surrounding the proposed bilateral suggests that the slated  meeting between India and Pakistani cricketing representatives in the UAE is now unlikely to happen.

Politics is to be blamed for this.

After the Nawaz Sharif speech in the UN and India’s visceral and strong reaction over Kashmir the chances look bleak. But the problem is the cultivated ambiguity on part of the BCCI. The BCCI is not being straight. The reasons pertain to politics within the BCCI; it is also using patriotism and as a cover to score points.  In the whole saga, playing with Pakistan is low priority.

Playing Pakistan is a low priority and too much of a fluid option.

Morever, there is a charged atmosphere in both the countries. Chauvinism and ultra nationalism defines both India and Pakistan. In this atmosphere, cricket is war.

Amidst this environment, those who root for peace or seek to advocate a sense of proportion and  good sense are dubbed anti-nationals and marginalized. Again, the emotional needs emanating from hostile nationalisms of the two countries are equal to making hostility coeval with moral courage and peace with cowardice. This deepens the divide between the two countries. But   for the sake of larger interests, politics and cricket need to be delinked.

 Will this happen? Unlikely. Prejudices are too deep and visceral to allow sense and sensibility to prevail.

 

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