Cricket has once failed to bring rivals Pakistan and India closer after India’s refusal to play Asia Cup matches in Pakistan. Cricket has traditionally served as a platform for nations to rekindle, uphold, and strengthen their relationships with opponents. The “cricket diplomacy” has served well during the times of dictators Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf in 1987 and 2005 to quell a simmering conflict. However, we are living in 2022 when lots of changes have occurred. India, a staunch opponent of Pakistan in all fields, including cricket, demonstrated its evil side yet again when the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India announced that the Indian team will not travel to Pakistan to compete in the Asia Cup competitions scheduled for September of next year. The India board demanded that these competitions be shifted to a neutral venue. This is the time when the international sport bodies reprimand India for its anti-sportsmanship.
The Pakistan Cricket Board ruled out playing the cup at a neutral venue and has warned that if the Indian team does not come to Pakistan, the Pakistani team will also not go to participate in the ODI World Cup in India in November 2023. The Pakistan board wrote to the Cricket Council (ACC), of which India is currently the president, that due to this biased attitude by India, Pakistan can say goodbye to the ACC. The government has also given a green signal in favour of this tough stance of the PCB. Pakistan will also raise this issue at the meeting of the International Cricket Council in Melbourne next month.
The Indian government must give peace a chance as resuming cricket matches can be a good way to boost confidence and pave the way for discussion of other unresolved issues. In these tumultuous and dangerous times, it is just what two nuclear-armed neighbours need to just play cricket instead of playing the blame game.