By Danish Shah
There was a time when Pakistan cricket was at its peak – a time when cricket teams and players from around the world wanted to visit Pakistan willingly, play cricket feverishly and intermingle with the locals openly. It was a time when Pakistan was able to successfully host World Cup matches on its soil.
Those days, it seems, are long gone.
The optimist in me tells me that those days will return and that good times are just around the corner, but the realist in me tells me that this is not going to happen in the foreseeable future.
It is not news to anyone that the present situation in Pakistan, besides many more important things, has hurt the cricket quite intensely. The average citizen is deprived of watching his/her favourite stars play in their backyard. Young cricketers are deprived of portraying their skills in front of a home crowd and being cheered on.
The previous Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) regime strained its relation with almost all cricketing boards around the world; the little goodwill it had left went down the drain when the Sri Lankan team was attacked in Lahore.
The, then, PCB chairman, instead of handing his resignation and apologising for the severe lack of proper security, went ahead blaming others for his shortcomings. As a result, the world does not want to visit us anymore and quite understandably so.
Despite all that, Pakistan cricket is surviving and is improving bit by bit, thanks to a (slightly) better board and chairmanship. The current regime seems mildly better than the last one. The current chairman, for the most part, is making correct decisions in bringing back Pakistani cricket to its long lost glory. But what is irking many cricket fans, including myself, is the persistence of the current PCB setup on bringing the Bangladesh cricket team to Pakistan.
What is that going to achieve, dear PCB?
Hosting Bangladesh won’t bring back other teams to the country. Bangladesh is not, quite frankly, an A-list team; besides, Bangladesh does not want to visit Pakistan.
Their decision is not ill founded either; have you not seen the current turmoil the country is in?
Long marches, bomb blasts, terrorism, genocides, and target killings are a daily routine now. Pakistan is among the most dangerous countries in the world for its own citizens, let alone foreigners. Our players are already deprived and sidelined; to top it off, your decision to not allow them to play BPL is like a blow below the belt.
Dear overlords of Pakistani cricket, let’s please focus on making our cricket team a formidable force, and leave inviting other countries to visit us alone for now. Let the conditions in the country improve first and if there comes a time when there are considerably less terrorist attacks and threats to foreigners, we can make a case in front of the world that we are a safe country to visit. Because it appears quite nonsensical to appeal to the world to visit us while tons of people are being slaughtered in Quetta, bombs are going off at gas stations in Karachi, protests and dharnas are being held in front of the Parliament, arrest warrants are being issued for the Prime Minister of the country and the Karachi Stock Exchange is losing 500 points in a single week!
So, please let our cricketers play where they can showcase their skills; stop putting other teams in jeopardy.
I, like every Pakistani cricket fan, would love to see our cricketing glory return; I would love to see foreign players playing at the National Stadium, Gaddafi Stadium or Arbab Niaz Stadium.
But for that to happen we have many more milestones to meet, many more hurdles to overcome and many more mountains to climb.
To end what I have already stated, with more perspective, I take a stanza from a famous poem by Robert Frost:
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
(Danish Shah is is an IT professional by day and a quasi couch/Facebook/Twitter activist by night. He tweets as @Danisshhhh. The above article is reproduced with permission from www. http://tribune.com.pk/)