Just not cricket! Govt and BCCI draw flak for proposing India-Pakistan series in December. Opposition parties, even cricket legends slam the decision

first_imgThe BCCI’s initiative to host the Pakistan cricket team for a series on Indian soil after five years has caused a massive uproar in political circles, divided opinion in the cricket fraternity and pushed the government on the back-foot. Opposition parties, such as the BJP and the Shiv Sena, were quick to slam the decision to resume cricketing ties despite Islamabad’s inaction against the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Even the Mahrashtra unit of the Congress lashed out at the BCCI for being insensitive towards terror victims. Cricketers too were critical, with legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar saying: “Being a Mumbaikar I feel what is the urgency when there is no co-operation from the other side.” Faced with severe criticism, the government quickly distanced itself from the BCCI’s announcement. Officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that the cricket body was “yet to seek permission for the series”. The statement was in contract to senior BCCI functionary Rajiv Shukla’s indication that there was “no problem with the government”. Politicians questioned the need for cricket diplomacy at this juncture, especially since such attempts have failed miserably in the past. In 1987, Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq visited Jaipur to watch a match featuring the two arch-rivals and promote peace between the country. But soon after, in 1989, there was outbreak of Islamabad-sponsored terrorism in the Kashmir valley. In 2005, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf witnessed the Indo-Pak cricket match at New Delhi’s Ferozshah Kotla stadium. But a series of terror attacks in India again derailed the peace process. More recently, during the 2011 World Cup, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited the then Pak premier Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch the semi-final match between the two countries in Mohali. But this peace initiative failed too as Islamabad took no action against 26/11 perpetrators despite it’s promises. The BCCI on Monday announced that it had decided to invite Pakistan to play three one-dayers and two Twenty20 games in December this year.advertisementlast_img