The Mumbai Blasts and Cricket

Monday, 1 December 2008, 22:31 | Category : Politics, Human Rights & Other Serious Stuff, Slices
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It might sound a little weird, but looking at the aftermath of the blasts through the perspective of cricket can tell us a lot about the political situation after the attack. Cricket is, after all, the national sport of both India and Pakistan.

At the moment there is doubt about whether the Indian cricket team will tour Pakistan as was planned:

“We are trying 200% to have the Indians play in Pakistan. If they don’t come then we have the option of playing at neutral venues.”

Pakistan’s Mohammad Yousuf believes the tour should still go ahead.

“Cricket is a big thing and a binding force for the people of Pakistan and India,” said the senior batsman.

“The Indian team must play in Pakistan or it will only encourage the terrorist elements.

“It is also important to continue cricket activities. What happened in Mumbai was horrifying but authorities must not allow terrorists to derail cricket activities.”

India are due to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 game on a tour lasting 46 days.

The Indian team did not go on a full tour of Pakistan for nearly 15 years until 2004 due to political tensions.

It’s a relatively small issue and yet whether it happens or not will tell us a lot about how badly India-Pakistan relations have been damaged by the blasts.

Something else that cricket is highlighting (due to England suspending their ongoing tour of India) is the perception of India by the West:

Is it possible that those who are calling for the tour to be called off are really proposing different standards for different parts of the world?

The events in Mumbai have been compared to New York’s 11 September 2001 and London 7 July 2005. When 7/7 happened, the Australians were touring England. And remember 7/7 was followed by 21/7, the second, but fortunately failed, terrorist attack on London.

The same day England were playing Australia in the first Ashes Test at Lord’s in a series that has gone down in history.

The following day Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead not far from the Oval.

Can you imagine the reaction if Australian cricketers had said they were going home because London was not safe?

Recall the disgust expressed by some, when after 9/11, America’s golfers refused to fly to Europe for the Ryder Cup, causing the historic event to be rescheduled.

So are the horrors in Mumbai different?

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