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Indian Premier League Bowls an Underarm Delivery to Pakistan

January 21, 2010

To my knowledge, Cricket is not an official tool of diplomacy in international relations. Cricket is however, traditionally a sophisticated, gentleman’s game.

But the Indian Premier League (IPL) foolishly overlooked this and soured the name of cricket on Tuesday by adhering to tacit government calls to exclude Pakistani cricketers from this years IPL tournament.

A very childish move because on a micro level, it wastes World Class cricketers’ time and on a macro scale, excludes the World Champions in 20Twenty from this tournament.

It’s bad enough that Pakistani visa’s were issued at the last moment, and IPL franchises were not given any guarantee that official clearance would ultimately be given at game time. Plus there are domestic extremist threats in India such as the Shiv Sena who even the Aussie team are worried about.

But the IPL has given no official reason for the snub, and realistically, bidding on Pakistani cricketers posed no serious security threat. And because the snub comes after implicit government instructions that Pakistani’s would not be “welcome in places like Mumbai”, a deep short sightedness is revealed on the Indian side, whether it be on the part of the BCCI, IPL, or government.

Were decision makers naïve enough to think that not bidding on Pakistani players would send a tough message to the Pakistani government so that they might soften up on Kashmir or divert troops from the Indian, to the Afghan border? I highly doubt it. Which renders the decision to exclude Pakistani players just juvenile.

It’s the kind of thing a teenager does which accomplishes little else than a momentary, base satisfaction that he or she later realizes wasn’t worth it as they get older. Because this is not going to improve relations, and it certainly doesn’t help the game of cricket to exclude the World Champs. It sends a symbolic slap across the border to millions of fans. Mind you, it slaps the fans, not the government, the fans. So, even though cricket is not an official tool of diplomacy, it can have a periphery effect of separating peoples. This snub can only stall rather than alleviate already chilling relations in South Asia.

But mostly, this comes at the cost of cricket in general. It’s reminiscent of  Greg and Trevor Chappel bowling the now infamous underarm ball to New Zealand in 1981. Shame on IPL for such a foolish misstep that accomplishes nothing positive.

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26 comments

  1. Zainab an awesome article by you, since i know that you are such an impartial writer and you have accepted on your blog many times about the importance of Indo-Pak friendship and also the talent of Indian and Pakistani cricketers, For me this article is a real slap on those who mixed politics with Sports.

    Mostly we Pakistani’s got angered after such a discriminated act by IPL after snubbing Pakistan Cricketers from IPL, but

    Kudos to you,Zainab for publicizing your point in such a respected way that you have hit IPL a silent slap but the whole world can listen the sound of this slap and this slap will echoed IPL for years

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    • Thanks Yasser. You nailed it on the head with one word: “discriminated”.

      Sadly, that’s the crux of the issue here, Pakistanis were discriminated against.

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  2. Zainab, another commendable neutral and important article !!! but it’s also important to understand that the IPL and its franchises are largely for-profit business outfits and here is a different take on the controversy –http://tinyurl.com/yer8srl

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    • Bhavik: that’s definitely a different perspective than what’s out there for the most part. But, i considered the private, profit driven basis of the IPL and figured if anything, that would absolve them of hawkish concerns that the govt harbors.

      But it didn’t in this case, which is why i think it’s such a travesty for cricket. Excluding the world champs doesn’t make for good business.

      In terms of the argument that it was for security. Nahhh. Pakistani players would have been safe in India for the most part.

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  3. The Pakistani nation and the Pakistanis are totally shameless, living in denial.

    You don’t play cricket with those, that send trained terrorists to kill your fellow countrymen.

    The argument that cricket and politics should not be mixed, and that the terrorists would be the winner if Pakistanis can not play in IPL is all bullshit, because the Pakistani state is firmly behind these terrorists.

    The IPL is a private league, and the franchiesies did the right thing, because any money made by Pakistan would contribute to terrorism against India.

    Hope Pakistan gets the message loud and clear.

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  4. “In the Middle of Every Difficulty Lies Opportunity.” – I guess we need to use this as an opportunity to create an effective local cricket league in Pakistan. Although, So far all attempts at doing so have been halfhearted, but I do have my hopes high. After this incident PCB should get serious and must understand the economics of an effective national cricket league. It will not only generate a lot of profits but also help refine talent, create jobs, and entertainment for the cricket loving nation.

    Great article as always =)

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    • Great idea Anas. Can we expect that article from you???

      Would love to read that 🙂

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  5. The kindest words one may like to use to describe this attitude of IPL n BCCI is “SHAMEFUL”. The only line of communications that should remain open between the two countries even under adverse situations is SPORTS. The myopic leadership in India has unfortunately snapped the feeble string, the last hope for the people of two countries to come closer together n force their leaderships to negotiate PEACE. Once again the extremist elements in two countries are having the last word. This shouldn’t have happened, I couldn’t have imagined of this situation even after stretching my imagination to the wildest extent. This is tragic n calamitous for both nations, rather for the entire region. I always thought very high of Indian Political leadership, of their maturity, of their statesmanship! Alas, it has all come crumbling down. Had BJP been in power my annoyance n disillusionment may not’ve been so intense, with a so called liberal n secular party in power this performance is absolutely condemnable.
    As I earlier said, this is a sad day for the sane subjects of Pakistan n India, a day of rejoicing for extremists, for fanatics, for war mongerers. The desire for prosperity of the children of lesser gods in south asia will still remain a distant dream. We the people of Pakistan are not going to take this humiliation lying down. When it comes to National Honour we’ve numerous options open to us as well, nevertheless we will keep our cards close to our chest n play them at the appropriate time, in the most befitting manner.

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  6. @ abu usama,

    “……..we’ve numerous options open to us as well, nevertheless we will keep our cards close to our chest n play them at the appropriate time, in the most befitting manner”

    – The real face of Pakistan, that is what you have been doing all along….. you Pakistanis have become used to charity and good gestures from others, and taking that for granted… !

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  7. Just like Pakistani Govt. claims to have no control over non-state actors(militants) , Indian Govt. can also claim to have no control over non-state actors(IPL).

    Politics & Sports shouldn’t be mixed but thats exactly thats been happening. Last year India canceled its tour to Pakistan due to genuine security concerns. Attack on Sri Lankan team proved that the concerns were genuine. But Pakistan Board looked to do a tit for tat and did not allow its players to participate in IPL. The reasons were flimsy and all franchises suffered losses.

    Why should they spend money on such players? Moreover, Pakistanis may be World Champions, that does not means their automatically selection. They hardly know how to play as a team and there is rampant factionalism. Their fielding is the worst. Furthermore, at best 3 or may be 4 stood a realistic chance of selection. If Brad Haddin wasn’t selected why would Akmal be selected. The likes of Misbah, Tanvir and Malik do not find a place in the national squad. Nazir is just a dasher.

    Afridi, Umar Akmal and Aamer were the only ones who stood a decent chance. How can non-selection of just 3 players affect India-Pak relations?

    But it is surprising to see to you not mention around 200 Indians and foreigners who were killed in 26/11. Doesn’t their lives affect the relations. You seem to be another one of Zaid Hamid’s patrons.

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    • they say in persian “UZR E GUNAH BUDTER AZ GUNAH” means the excuse for sin is worse than sin itself.
      moreover two wrongs don’t make a right.

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      • Ofcourse, I never denied that there is no politics. And if I have committed any sin, they how many sins have u committed by ignoring the 200 innocent lives lost.

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  8. Should Politics and Sports be mixed, sure as long as everyone understands that the rule of the day should be “Divide and Rule” and for those of you who are too young or ignorant about the rule,,
    Think about it,, India had ordered 66 Hawk jets in 2004 for $1.45 billion for its air force. Two days latter Tony Blair sold 1 billion of ANTI Hawk Missiles to Pakistan.
    DIVIDE AND RULE was the old law,
    the new law
    DIVIDE AND RULE AND SELL ARMS TO BOTH

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    • The fact is they are mixed and will continue to be mixed, whether we like it or not. During Cold War, Olympics Games have been boycotted. Pakistan too used Sports has a tool. Indian Films have been another target.

      As regards to military expenditure, it is the Pakistani Army that is the problem. It continues to directly or indirectly rule the country and exercises absolute control over military expenditures. On the other hand, Indian Army is under absolute civilian control. But it is the Pakistani Army’s imperialist designs that force them to purchase upgraded weapons.

      Pakistani Army continues to falsely believe that it can compete with India, a country 4 times its size and 9 times its GDP. The bigger problem is that people of Pakistan dont believe in democracy and rather believe maniacs like Zaid Hamid.

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  9. i agree. nonetheless, our ass-tablishment as well as gore-MINT have made a mountain out of a molehill.
    it would have been better if the indians had demonstrated lesser lack of wisdom and greater sense of foresight.
    but the bottom-line remains a dollars and sense conundrum, it was a largely a commercial decision of the private sponsors of indian cricket. we should not react inebriatedly but in a spirit of larger-heartedness and .. well.. err magnanimity.

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    • i fullly agree with barrister Iqbal. i would request him to go through my latest comments n give his opinion.

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  10. 1.politics or no politics, we need to avoid all such actions n comments that further fuel the already existing tension. this will amount to falling into the trap laid by extremists on both sides of the border.
    2.discussion on increase in military budgets is nothing more than establishing whether hen arrived first or the egg. we’ll have to solve the underlying problems.
    3.u talk of 200 innocent civilians…. these non state actors have killed innocent civilians numbering in thousands in Pakistan. again i would say that by over reacting we’ll be playing their game. we are bleeding more profusely than any other nation on this earth. try to understand that our people, generation after generation pass into oblivion without any hope of a better life for the following generations. the people on both sides need to realize that hatred breeds disaster. despite such a healthy economy of India honestly tell me what percentage of people still lives below poverty level in your homeland. it is the establishments on both sides that have the last word. these players are also not independent, they are being controlled by mafias at global level. just give a cool thought to the fact that who is the real beneficiary from increased defence budgets. the western nations got wiser after fighting two major wars in the last century, but their economies could suffer fatal blows if their DEFENCE PRODUCTION industries are shut down forever. you n we are a victim of this larger than life conspiracy. the capitalist system of economics is ruthless n inhuman. think over before getting furious, we the people of Pakistan have nothing against the people of India. just recall the election days in your country…you get divided over the choice of parties, of candidates. the language used against one another is far less than parliamentary. in the times of crises this is what exactly happens to the people on two sides of the border.
    4.frankly, our fear is that India is all out to eliminate Pakistan. the example of Indian role in the creation of Bangladesh is the most glaring example from recent history. without defending our own successive regimes, i would like to ask every sane Indian that by setting this example didn’t the Indian govt of the time set a disastrous example? just see at the individual level, how will you feel if some body killed your near or dear one or cut one of your arm or leg !!!this was nothing less than that. the historic words of late Indira Gandhi that two nation theory has been sunk into Indian Ocean were the salt in the wound. besides, who started the nuclear arms race? who initiated the nuclear weapon testing? we are unfortunately the smaller of the two states n therefore greater are our fears n reservations.
    5.now as far as our love for democracy is concerned, this country of ours came into being as a result of democratic process. whenever we got a chance to vote we were as enthusiastic as any other nation. again the unfortunate part of the story is that the best friends of dictatorships in Pakistan were the countries who verbally always served the cause of democracy, but practically never stood by democratically elected govts. as i mentioned earlier it is not in the interest of capitalist west to help third world in resolution of their territorial issues or related problems. the non state actors actually play the game of these powers.the hard earned money of the public is spent lavishly on purchase n upgradation of war machines. imagine we do this at what cost! under fed children and disease stricken masses pay for this through the skin of their teeth!
    6.your history is no better, your govt has toughened its stance eversince we reverted to civilian rule. Mumbai was attacked pre_empting the possible speeding up of normalization of relations between the two countries. your govt fell prey to the forces of regression, the aim of non state actors n their masters(the war machine industry in particular n capitalist multinationals in general) has thus been achieved. the two countries have incresed their spendings on purchase n upgradation of their defence systems. imagine equipment worth trillions of dollars becomes obsolete within no time as technology is changing at a mind boggling speed. it’s turned into worthless scrap n who suffers? the people ,the man in the street, the masses who pay for all this obsolete equipment and its even costlier replacement. this is not happening only on our side of the border, your govts n establishment is doing the same, at a much larger scale.
    7. we, the people of Pakistan, wish you people happiness, health n prosperity. we’ve nothing against you, we just want you to think over that creating war hysteria is in whose interest???who benefits from it n what measures at people to people level are needed to diffuse tensions.
    BEST WISHES N GOOD LUCK

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    • 1 Ofcourse there are extremists on both sides. But we have kept them under check. It is attacks like Mumbai that makes them stronger something neither your Govt nor ignorant ppl like u realise.

      3 These non-state actors are killing some of ur ppl, but who created this frankenstein monster.

      4 Yes India did create Bangladesh. But India has always demonstrated maturity something that Pakistan has always lacked. In 1948, Indian Army was much bigger that Pak army and we could have easily captured Kashmir. Yet Nehru displayed chose to go the UN. But it was the west particularly US that propped up Pakistan. Kashmir became a playground for Cold War politics. It was Pakistan who started the 1965 war. It was Pakistan who kept attacking Kashmir.
      And Nuclear race was never started by India. China acquired the weapon in 1964. India has always declared no first use policy. And lastly, please go back and check why did the Bengalis supported India.

      5 Pakistan public my have voted when there is an opportunity, but they have rarely fought for their rights and democracy. Till date there have been no land reforms in Pakistan. People in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit have no right and they do not have any say as who will rule in Islamabad.

      6 Indian Govt showed maturity by not attacking your country but your Govt has chosen not to close the terrorist camps.

      7 Osama bin Laden chose to stay in Pakistan. The three terrorists released by India in Kandahar, all of them are in Pakistan. Dawood Abraham is in Pakistan. Is this what u call Pakistan….the LAND OF PURE.

      8 We the people of India would like the enlightened and pure people of Pakistan to give these suggestion to your civilian govt and your military.

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  11. It was not India who broke Pakistan. It was Pakistan’s own generals and military officials responsible for it. The attorcities that these guys carried out in East Pakistan were beyond imagination….with regular genocides and rapes…..India had to intervene to save itself from the deluge of refugees coming into its territory from the so called territory of pakistan which it failed to support

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  12. some extremly useless and off topic comments, blog post is IPL, Cricket and Pakistani Players not being selected, from where Bangladesh, Army General’s came Anyways let me remind you, it was a wrong decision by IPL which has been publicly accepted by one of Franchise Owner of IPL i.e Shahrukh Khan and also India Interior Minister Chidambram.

    IPL made the mistake, they accepted it publicly and we have already forgiven them, end of chapter 🙂

    By the way if you really want to increase your knoweledge about Bangladesh-Seperation, then go and read this bbc link which might help you

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4633263.stm

    Cheers

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  13. in my views pakistan should play the dlf and the dlf authorizers should have let play pak because its the matter of our indian security and not the warnings of shiv sena and all pak players are approached by our dlf teams to play and they deserve to play

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  14. well it is not necessary that we Pakistanis should get enraged by some snub orchestrated by Shiv Sena. Today at least we are independent and can send a team elsewhere which could not have been possible had there been a United India. We should not make IPL a matter of ego. It is better that we should make more hue and cry on water issue, Kashmir conflict, illegal occupation of Junagadh & Manawadar and releasing of innocent prisoners then this petty IPL case.

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  15. wht ever thing is going on its totally wrong , l.modi should give chance to pakistan players to earn money b’coz in now days ipl only depends on money & man its money game so enjoyed it………hav graet day

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  16. This vindicates all Indians claim that Pakistanis are Cheaters…

    Stand-in captain Afridi was caught on camera biting the ball during the fifth and final ODI against Australia [ Images ] in Perth, inviting a ban for two Twenty20

    I quote:
    “We, in India are quick to vilify those who propose a hard line approach to Pakistan that includes severing cricket ties by branding them as radical and uncivilised. We cannot mix cricket with politics is the oft quoted mantra. But what is so sacred about this dichotomy? Is it a directive derived from logic or common sense or an abstract feel good notion with no utility value? And has continued cricketing ties mitigated Pakistan’s terror shenanigans?

    I would like to look at in another way. This is not about cricket and politics but cricket and humanity. I am passionate about cricket and love the game. But that is the point. Cricket is merely a game and must take second place to humane concepts.

    Is it not barbaric that we choose to continue playing cricket with a people whose compatriots routinely massacre our innocent civilians? I find it uncouth when we walk over the dead bodies of the carnage of 26/11 and extend a ‘loving’ hand to Pakistan and Pakistanis? This train of terror cannot go on. We must draw the line somewhere and it is here and now even if it means no cricket.”

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  17. As an Indian I feel embarrassed about what happened during the IPL auction. Good analogy with the underarm delivery – surely was.

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  18. I would like to state a different perspective then what have already been written.
    I appears that Indian govt. was convinced that there will be terror attempts during current IPL season and it could not give clear guarantee to IPL that sporting relation with Pakistan will not be terminated in such a event. (This fear was later proved to be true as numerous attacks were thwarted, ‘project Karachi’ being the most significant). IPL franchisee opting for Pakistani players stood to lose in that case. So they chose to be safe than sorry.

    Like



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