The Indian cricket team is scheduled to tour Pakistan from 6 January to 19 February, 2009, for five one-day internationals and three Test matches. But Union sports minister Manohar Singh Gill has thrown a major spanner in the works.
This is not the time to tour Pakistan, he says, when “people from their soil are indulging in mass murder”.
“Is it possible for one team to arrive in Bombay and indulge in mass murder, and have another team go and play cricket in the winter afternoon sun at Lahore, immediately after?,” Gill has asked.
The sports minister’s statement is not very different from the stand of senior players in the team like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and M.S. Dhoni who had conveyed their opposition to the Pakistan tour the very evening news the terrorists were rowing their way into Bombay on November 26.
But England has returned to complete its tour of India despite the terror attack on Bombay. So, can the Indians duck Pakistan? And if they do, will it set a precedent, which might have grave implications on future tours to India, the Indian Premier League, the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2011 cricket World Cup itself?