India vs Pakistan cricket: What the bullies at BCCI miss
There is a charm to India playing Pakistan in a multi-nation tournament
Part of it, completely lost on the suits at Asia Cricket Council and BCCI, is that the context of the game ensures there is more than just bragging rights at stake
Everyone has a dish that they can taste in their dreams
Just a mere mention makes our mouths water. Its colour, shape, and fragrance are tattooed into our senses in permanent ink. That dish, when made in a specific way, sits at the top of our birthday lunch wishlist. For the hopeless romantic, sports can have that effect.
India versus Pakistan elicits a similar emotional response
Many of us carry fat scrapbooks of heartbreaks and triumphs. Lining up at stadiums five hours in advance; sitting in front of the television, hands folded, hoping for miracles. Sachin’s six; Shoaib’s yorker. One will find every emotion except indifference.
- In the last decade, since all bilateral engagement has stopped and they get to play only at ICC or ACC (Asian Cricket Council)-organised events, the anticipation has grown manifold.
- Cricket administrators, divorced from boring stuff like player welfare and spreading the sport, are enchanted by the commercial value of such a rivalry.
- In the last five World Cups, spanning both white-ball formats, India vs Pakistan has always been played on a weekend.
The current edition was designed so that India could play Pakistan twice
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Pakistan was the chosen host for the current edition
International cricket has only recently found its way back to the country, and an Asia Cup would’ve been the marquee event to put it back on the map as a prime location for big-ticket tournaments.
Bullies like to flex their power
Usually, such arm-twisting would raise eyebrows and deep-voiced concern for the health of the game. But when one looks at the ACC leadership and spots Jay Shah, BCCI’s Secretary, as its President, all concerns give way to hysterical laughter. The BCCI virtually owns the ICC. The ACC is but a small fish.
But there is also another thing with bullies
They are so bewitched by the man in the mirror that they fail to look outside the window.
- While moving the matches to Colombo and Kandy, the ACC was warned about weather forecasts in these regions.
- Rains were not just a possibility, but a reality.
- The ACC looked deep inside their drawers for a contingency plan. Voila! Reserve day, but only for the big game.
The grand final may not yet happen
Sri Lanka has never been, even at their lowest, a team that walks away without a fight. Last year, the ACC hatched a similar plan of multiple India vs Pakistan games at an Asia Cup culminating in the final of all finals. Sri Lanka not only spoiled that party but ended up winning the title too.
At a time when both teams are amongst the best at white-ball cricket
It is a travesty that the administrators suffer from chronic myopia.
Dev is a Chennai-based composer and writer