Pakistan scares cricketers. Why doesn’t India?

ALOK PRASANNA writes from Bangalore: Another set of serial blasts in an Indian city. Ho hum.

Shrill and breathless reporters causing panic and confusion while telling people that there is nothing to worry about. Check.

Clueless police bumbling about the blast scene. Check.

Condemnations against nameless persons issued by anyone entitled to a lal-batthi car. Check.

Tenuous links to militant Islamic organizations drawn on flimsiest evidence (mostly by ignorant bloggers and the people who read them). Check.

Newspaper editorials bemoaning lack of protection for the ordinary citizen. Check.

Citizens picking selves up, brushing off debris and going back to following India’s miserable fate in the Colombo Test. Check.

International (read: white) players threatening to pull out of cricket tournament in Pakistan due to security reasons. Check.

No, you did not read that wrong. And yes, it seems to follow the rest of the above more often than you think.

By all logic and reason, if tours to Pakistan are considered “dangerous”, then India should have been a total no-go for cricketers around the world given the Delhi blasts, the Bombay blasts, the Hyderabad blasts, the Jaipur blasts and now, the Bangalore blasts (admittedly the new airport road kills as many people on a daily basis, but hey a bomb blast is a bomb blast).

Yet, the Shanes (Warne and Watson) were more than happy to fulfil their contractual obligations to their Jaipur based franchise even when the bombs went off in Jaipur smack bang in the middle of the IPL. And “security situation” is hardly a consideration when Kevin Pietersen whines about how the evil ECB is not letting him play in the IPL.

Besides the London Tube bombings happened during Ashes 2005.

Another useful bit of trivia: The only time a match was stopped due to a bomb threat was in, well you guessed it, England. Naturally, no one ran off to catch the nearest flight home, and the players continued after the police checked it out. And this, mind you, was at the height of the IRA bombings in England.

Normally, one finds little reason to support the BCCI whenever it makes a decision, but it deserves a whole hearted back-pat for having supported Pakistan as the venue for the ICC Champions Trophy. An Asia Cup was organized there. India has been touring Pakistan every year or so for the last 5 years without incident. So what is really wrong with Pakistan as a cricketing venue?

Is it the media that seems to can mention Pakistan only in the context of bad news, and occasionally, for a change, worse news?

Is it Sir Ian Beefy Botham’s infamous categorization of Pakistan as a mother-in-law-holiday destination?

Or is it a simple case of “money talks, bullshit walks”?

If the Indian experience is anything to go by, shouldn’t the ordinary cricket fan in Pakistan, who has to undergo enough troubles to sit in a concrete hellhole passing for a “stand”, subject himself to numerous intrusive “searches”, give up on security so that the “players’ security” is taken care of, get a small opportunity to watch the best players of the world go up against each other?

I don’t know about you, but the more I think of this the more the words “DOUBLE STANDARDS” keeps popping up.

Also read: Victory off the field