Home > Features >

If Pakistani umpires, commentators, coaches and artists are allowed on Indian soil, why not Pakistani players?

India vs Pakistan

Pakistan toured India for two T20 Internationals and three ODIs in 2012-13 © PTI

Faisalabad Wolves were denied permission to travel to India to play the Champions League T20 2013. This isn’t the first time when political tensions have spilled on to the sport arena. Yet, only the players are the affected party as umpires, coaches and commentators from Pakistan have featured in tournaments such as the Indian Premier League (IPL). Nishad Pai Vaidya looks at the inexplicable politicisation of the game.

Cricket is more than a sport in the sub-continent; it is a force that unites its diverse population. However, such is the power of the sport that it could alsoalso be used as a tool to sway public opinion and, in the process, deliver a “strong message.” The Indian Government recently denied the Faisalabad Wolves visa to participate in the Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2013. This comes after weeks of uncertainty in the backdrop of frosty diplomatic relations between the two sub-continental giants. This isn’t the first time a diplomatic tiff has affected cricket; time and again bilateral ties between the two neighbours have snapped due to simmering political discontent.  But why is it that government only bars the Pakistani players in such situations?

From June 2000 to March 2003, India and Pakistan did not play against each other until relations warmed up in the mid-2000s. After India’s historic visit across the border, the two sides faced met quite regularly until 2008. Then, came the terrifying terror attacks on Mumbai, which led to another impasse. The only time they played each other was in multinational tournaments such as the World Cup or the Asia Cup. Pakistan’s tour to India in 2012-13 was seen as another positive move, until another stand-off surfaced.

Pakistani players haven’t played the Indian Premier League (IPL) after the first season. It was only during the CLT20 2012 that a Pakistani side featured in the competition. What is pertinent to note is that while the players are barred, one still finds Pakistani presence in such tournaments. Pakistani umpires, coaches and commentators from Pakistan have regularly figured in the IPL. Some of them have even been seen at India’s home fixtures. If the commentators and umpires are allowed, why are the players kept away? One fails to understand the logic behind it all. There is a clear intent to use the sport as a means to make a statement — a political one. Cricket is the most popular sport in both countries and reaches majority of their vast population. It is a matter of great pride for the players and the public to emerge triumphant in contests with their arch rivals.

It isn’t cricket alone that has borne the brunt in recent times. The Pakistan Hockey team’s visit to India was cancelled and so was a snooker tournament between the two countries.

But what’s perplexing is that when India-Pakistan relations haven’t been at their best, artists from across the border parade their skills on Indian soil. The Indian public, in fact, does appreciates them for their talents, than snub them for their nationality.

Why then is sport made an exception? It’s a question that the masses still can’t find a logical answer.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Melbourne

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Jan 2, 2015 (14:00 IST)   at Cape Town

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Jan 3, 2015 (03:30 IST)   at Wellington

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 68 runs

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Australia won by 4 wkts

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Centurion

South Africa won by an innings and 220 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Ind vs Aus: Dhoni analyses the 4-wicket loss at Brisbane

Murali Vijay’s 144 among most runs scored by an Indian on Day 1 of overseas Test

Live Cricket Score Ranji Trophy 2014-15, Round 3, Day 1 — All matches

India’s collapse against Australia on 2nd Test at Brisbane: Did the visitors really bat badly on Day 4?

India vs Australia 2014-15, Brisbane: India marks out of 10

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane: India’s tail tales

Anil Kumble Australia India Moments in history Ricky Ponting South Africa

Ranji Trophy 2014-15: Rana Dutt five-wicket haul gives Tripura upper hand against Jharkhand

India vs Australia 2014-15: MS Dhoni acknowledges improvement in overseas batting

Ranji Trophy 2014-15: Parvez Rasool half-century puts Jammu & Kashmir in control against Baroda

Murali Vijay enters Top 20 ICC Test batsman rankings for first time

South Africa vs West Indies 2014-15: Rilee Rossouw replaces Quinton de Kock in Test squad

Can Eoin Morgan change England’s limited-overs fortunes?

Pakistan vs New Zealand ODI series 2014: A look back at the series

Murali Vijay’s 144 among most runs scored by an Indian on Day 1 of overseas Test

Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and others scoring century on their Captaincy Debut in Test cricket

Batsman given hit wicket after mobile phone falls on stumps

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

683 Posts | 6 Fans

Mitchell Johnson's 37 wickets against England in Ashes 2013-14

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here