Fri. Sep 22nd, 2023
why 'no' in cricket

SAFF Football Championship will start in Bengaluru, India next month. Hockey’s Asian Champions Trophy will begin in Chennai in August. Pakistan has confirmed to participate in both the tournaments.

But despite agreeing to play football and hockey on Indian soil, Pakistan has signaled to say ‘no’ to cricket. ODI World Cup will be held in India in October-November. In the meantime, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has threatened not to play in the global cricket event.

None of the three tournaments to be played in India over the next six months are bilateral. SAFF Championship is hosted by South Asian Football Federation (SAF), Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) in hockey and International Cricket Council (ICC) in cricket.

India and Pakistan have not toured bilaterally in cricket, football or hockey for the past decade or so due to the deterioration of relations at the state level between the two countries. All the encounters have been in ICC, Olympic, Commonwealth Games, SAFF or Federation of International Hockey (FIH) tournaments.

For example, in football, India-Pakistan played the last international friendly match in 2005, in Lahore. After that, they faced each other four times, but all were clear in the championship. The latest of which was in September 2018, at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka.

The 14th season of SAFF is going to start in India on June 21. The draw for the tournament took place on Wednesday, where India and Pakistan were drawn in Group A. All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Kalyan Choubey told PTI after the draw ceremony, “The name was placed in the draw only after confirming that Pakistan will participate.” All South Asian countries have the right to play in the SAFF Championship.

AIFF secretary Shaji Prabhakaran said that the Pakistan football team will not face any visa-related problems to play in SAFF. They (Pakistan) have already applied for the visa. The process has also started.

The Asian Hockey Federation Tournament Champions Trophy will be held from August 3–12 in Chennai. Pakistan Hockey Federation has shown interest in playing this tournament of 6 teams. On April 24, Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu President J. Sekar Manoharan told The Hindu that Pakistan has confirmed participation in the Champions Trophy.

If the troubled Pakistan Hockey Federation finally sends the team, it will be the first visit of the Pakistan hockey team to India since 2018. India-Pakistan did not meet face-to-face even though they went to Bhubaneswar to play the Hockey World Cup five years ago. Pakistan’s last match against India on Indian soil was in 2011, in an international friendly.

Bholanath Singh, general secretary of Hockey India, feels that there will be no problem in getting visas for the Pakistan hockey team to India to play in the Asian Champions Trophy. “It’s not an invitational tournament,” he told ESPN in April. The best teams of Asia are participating here. There will be no problem in getting permission for the Pakistan team to play.

There should be no problem in getting a visa for Pakistan team in cricket like football and hockey. But PCB Chairman Najam Shetty himself has objected to sending the team. He said that Pakistan will go to India to play the ODI World Cup organized by ICC, if India goes to Pakistan to play the Asia Cup. According to the schedule, the 2023 Asia Cup organized by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is scheduled to be held in Pakistan. But the Indian Cricket Board is not willing to go to Pakistan citing the reason of not having permission from the BCCI government. They want to play at neutral venues.

In this direction, after the 2023 Asia Cup, the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy is also supposed to be held in Pakistan. Pakistan is adamant about hosting the Asia Cup on its own soil thinking that if it compromises now, it will suffer later. The venue of the Asia Cup has not yet been finalized due to the tension between India and Pakistan. PCB Chairman Najam Shetty has given several interviews in Pakistan, India and UK media about this in the last two weeks.

Where the main tone is the same – if the Indian government does not agree to send a team to Pakistan, then the Pakistani government will not allow it to send a team to India. Shetty said that he sincerely wants the Asia Cup to be held in the year of the World Cup and also made some concessions regarding the venue. In that case, even if the tournament is held in Pakistan, India’s match will be played in a different country. But since India will not go to Pakistan, Pakistan also wants to play the World Cup matches to be held in India in Bangladesh or some other country.

Basically, this is the main difference between Cricket World Cup and Saf Football and Hockey Champions Trophy. There are no bargains for Pakistan in SAFF Championship and Hockey Champions Trophy. But cricket has the equation of Asia Cup and 2025 Champions Trophy. That is why Pakistan wants to settle the account early.

In addition to the host-equity of Pakistan, there is also the authority of the original authority. FIFA is the world governing body for football and FIH is the governing body for hockey. Both sports are again registered with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Political interference in these games is strictly observed.

The Indian government did not grant visas to two Pakistani shooters for the Shooting World Cup held in India in 2019. In this incident, IOC banned India as host. The ban was later lifted in June of that year after the central government of India issued a written statement stating that ‘all athletes will be guaranteed visas and will not be politically biased’.

The ICC’s stance on dealing with political issues is somewhat different. The impression of which can be found in Najam Shetty’s interview given to Sports Talk of India last week. PCB Chairman Najam Shetty has objected to sending the team to India

When asked that ICC may ban Pakistan if it does not go to India to play the World Cup, the PCB chairman said, ‘What is the ban? There is a security clause in the ICC. It says don’t play if there are security issues. (In this case) we can also talk about the security problem.” Shetty’s words clearly indicate that his country has the potential to play the security card like India.

Cricket is one of the symbols of the glory of India and Pakistan. This is also the place to show ego. That’s why football, like hockey, has a different calculation in cricket.