SPORT events worldwide provide vast opportunities to peoples and countries to come together and display their talent while at the same time unifying them to create better understanding between different cultures and societies. But certain hegemonic minds always try to pollute and damage such an atmosphere.
The way former international criketers were threatened and warned by the BCCI (Indian Cricket Board) not to participate in the inaugural Kashmir Premier League (KPL) cricket tournament, beginning from 6th August in Muzaffarabad, is completely unheard of before.
According to details, Indian cricket board has threatened other cricket boards that if their former players took part in the KPL, they would not be allowed entry in India or allowed to work in Indian cricket at any level or in any capacity.
Such conduct from the Indian cricket board, as also stated by Pakistan Cricket Board, is completely unacceptable, against the spirit of cricket and sets a dangerous precedence, which can neither be tolerated nor ignored. Indeed the very Indian posture is based on its animosity towards Pakistan.
The very conduct of the KPL in Muzaffarabad is sufficient to send a message across the world that situation is calm and normal in Pakistani part of Kashmir where foreigners are also free to go while it is quite the opposite in the territory illegally held by India where occupying forces have unleashed a reign of terror, and to hide its atrocities, independent observers and media are not allowed to enter.
The Indian bullying of the cricket boards in fact has once again brought the lingering dispute to the limelight and exposed true face of India.
While it is encouraging to see that some players like Gibbs and Tillakaratne Dilshan have shown the courage to participate in the league, the cricket boards who succumbed to the Indian pressure also need to demonstrate their integrity and independence.
The BCCI has become so powerful today because of its resources that it is dictating terms to other members of the ICC, which is not good at all for the game of cricket.
The ICC must take immediate notice of the Indian cricket board’s bullying and take appropriate action. The ICC will have to demonstrate that cricket affairs are in its hands and not the BCCI.
If the BCCI was not reined in, it will also try to get results of its own liking at international events, which will be a big blow to cricket. Before that happens, the ICC members will have to act to save the game from BCCI hands.