Posted by: nestaquin | August 16, 2008

Ponting, Pakistan, Paternity & Prejudice

99.94’s super-domestique, The Tooting Trumpet, in a slim and sensible seduction, explains why Australia, and especially their captain, must contest next month’s Champions Trophy in Pakistan.

To Pakistan or Not?

India may be the financial powerhouse of the world game, but Australia is its leader in terms of how the game develops culturally. Fairly or unfairly, this places Australia’s captain in a position where his leadership extends beyond national boundaries.

It is a leadership that Ian Chappell discharged in WSC days, that Mark Taylor discharged as the epitome of grace under pressure and that Steve Waugh discharged in understanding that Tests are won by positive play.

All risked much, personally and professionally, in the service of a vision of how the game should be played.

Ricky Ponting has a big decision to make. Nobody (not even Peter Roebuck) thinks that decision is straightforward, especially in the light of new responsibilities.

But it can really only go one way. Cricket will always be played in dangerous parts of the world – it will never be risk-free, even in London. Neither is crossing the road. If cricket is to embrace its troubled brother, Pakistan, as a member of its family, the Champions Trophy (except in the most extreme circumstances) must be played as planned in the Islamic Republic.

Australia’s captain, the man who lifted the trophy last time, must be there to lead his team, and the cricketing world, in a display of fraternity. Nobody should blame him if he chooses otherwise, but leadership makes its demands (not always reasonably) and this is one of them.

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Responses

  1. Pakistan is the most dangerous place on earth bar none. Any country who wants to play cricket in this god forsaken place populated with islamic zealots most be a nut case!!

    NO CRICKET IN THE ISLAMIC BASTARD STATE OF PAKISTAN!!!

  2. Regardless of Cricket Australia’s decision on whether to defend the trophy or not, it is highly unlikely that Ponting will tour as he is recovering from surgery on his wrist.

    Hayden probably won’t be fit either.

    Michael Clarke will lead the team and they will still be very competitive. Andrew Symonds may not go but if all his team-mates do, I think peer pressure will see that he does.

    The media perception of Pakistan and the general apathy towards the Champions Trophy has public opinion very much in the players court.

    Only a few care if the team tour or not, especially as the Champions Trophy clashes with the AFL and NRL finals series.

    For Cricket Australia, it boils down to a simple question, “If the might of Pakistan’s military can’t protect one woman (Benazhir Bhutto) then how the hell can they look after our blokes?”

    So far the ICC have visited NZ and AUS attempting to answer that question. Neither were convinced. Next they visit SAF and later next week Lords. If none are swayed then the tournament will be played in Sri Lanka, which is, the most likely scenario.

    If the ICC called Tim May’s bluff and stood firm on their original scheduling then Australia would definitely be playing in Pakistan in three weeks. Instead they pandered to prejudice and fear and the results are there for all to see.

  3. I agree that the Champions Trophy adds nothing to the game, but once it is accepted as an event, it is important to support it. If Punter is injured, then fair enough, but it’s important that Michael Clarke, as his deputy, goes in his place and takes a full squad.

    Is the Benazir Bhutto comparison right? She was a very high profile politician campaigning and well aware of being a target and, as I understand, refused some of the advice offered. Surely the Aus (or any cricket team) are not in a similar position to her?

    If guarantees of safety are demanded, it can only be an abuse of language to give such a guarantee. If guarantees that all reasonable steps have been taken are sought and that players are as safe as can be expected, what more can the authorities do?

    The alternative appears to be some nations consigning Pakistan to a kind of pariah status in terms of touring. That seems terribly unfair to a set of wonderful players and passionate fans.

  4. chintuthephoenix’s comment would be typical of many, especially in Queensland the home of Haydos and Roy. Thanks for contributing.

    Pakistan’s reputation in the cricketing world, like many of their problems, are directly related to the aggressively titled War on Terror. Their near exile is a very small part of the damage that this conflict has created within Pakistan’s borders.

    The question pondered is I agree, over-simplified, but it is the standard response when the negative argument encounters reason.

    I’d like to see it played in Pakistan and a squad selected of willing participants. Places are few and candidates are plenty therefore most players would go if there was no alternative because they wouldn’t want to give their understudy a shot at a place in the team.

    There is, however an alternative and that’s why the Champions Trophy is in the mess it currently mirks in.

  5. Nesta – Once someone says, “Well, we could have a look at alternative venues to Pakistan” players are bound to press for it – who wouldn’t?

    I recall a conversation just after Ms Bhutto’s assasination in my local pizza takeaway. The guy making our pizza had been speaking on the phone to his father in Peshawar – all was quiet there he reported.

    Terrorism is about sowing fear – we should resist it whenever we can, though that can be tough.

  6. Is Pakistan the most dangerous place on earth, i thought that was the tube…

    At least they pulled out quickly and didn’t take months to finally announce a decision we always knew they were going to make.

  7. Good post with some sane reasoning. Looks like many are going to leave pakistan high and dry including their so-called political allies.

  8. Thanks for the comments.

    With Musharraf stepping down, I can’t see the Champions Trophy going ahead.

    Nevertheless, teams should tour Pakistan as soon as feasible. Cricket there needs the widest possible support.

  9. Considering the situation at the moment in Pakistan, it will be unsafe for any country to tour Pakistan.

  10. Pakistan is in a hopeless position now.

    The militant player associations of Aus, RSA, Eng, NZ etc have just got it in their heads that it is a dangerous country. And will always be so.

    No matter how free of violence Pakistan may be over the next 13 months this tournament will not be held there.

    Because somewhere else in the world a bomb will go off, and Islamists will be responsible.

    And Pakistan will take the blame.


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