Let India-Pak play

By: Editorial |


Updated: April 9, 2022 9:22:09 am


Cricket administrators cannot always keep passing the buck to politics and politicians. They should parley and push more aggressively to realise their visions.

There is no larger narrative in sport than when two arch-rivals play each other. The contests make for riveting theatre. The sports industry thrives on it — the players find added motivation, the audience gets to watch thrilling action, the organisers and sponsors rake in staggering profit. Thus, an annual four-nation T20 tournament proposed by Pakistan Cricket Board chief and former cricketer Ramiz Raja is an idea whose time should come.

The most exciting part of the proposal — which he plans to discuss in the ongoing ICC meeting in Dubai — is that it promises to make one of the fiercest rivalries in world cricket, between India and Pakistan, a more regular fare. This generation of cricket-watchers is starved of this most fascinating of duels. Trapped in a political cage, they have not played a Test match in 15 years. Neither Babar Azam nor Virat Kohli have faced-off in whites, nor have Jasprit Bumrah and Shaheen Shah Afridi tilted lances. Even the white-ball encounters have been few and far between in the last decade. The biggest losers in the political impasse are not the organisers and sponsors, but the audience as well as the sport itself. An outlier sport in the global context, played in only a few nations of the erstwhile Commonwealth, it cannot afford to not harness its most colourful rivalry, as Raja emphasised in an interview to this newspaper.

Cricket administrators cannot always keep passing the buck to politics and politicians. They should parley and push more aggressively to realise their visions. The four-member tournament is an ideal template — it’s not just India and Pakistan or Australia and England that share rivalries, since the turn of the decade, India and Australia, Pakistan and Australia too have fought intensely in series. Such a tournament has all the components for a blockbuster. Cricket should take a cue from other sports like tennis, which hosts annual year-ending tournaments featuring the top brass, or rugby, which has the premier four-nation tournament every year.

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

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