As everyone knows, the 2008 Champions Trophy has been postponed. Probably the right decision (IMO) when everything is taken into consideration, but it does come with some consequences.
Here are a few thoughts...
Here are a few thoughts...
- The five countries to pull out have set a poor precedent - that countries can unilaterally pull out without fear of punishment. If it applies to teams like SA (who, btw, safely and successfully toured Pakistan more than any other non-Asian team in the recent past), it should apply to everyone else. I understand the concerns over security, but then other countries can have their own concerns too in the future, maybe not limited to security (political, logistical, financial, etc). Can ICC define security as the sole acceptable reason to meddle with a tournament/series? Or are we just opening up a Pandora's box?
- Is the Champions Trophy even worth it anymore? I know this is kinda of a rehash of the same ol' T20 vs ODI discussion. But even logistically, we have a Champions Trophy scheduled in April 2010 in West Indies. So two CTs in the span of six months? That won't happen. Something will have to give.
- ICC has basically given a blank check for any team not to tour Pakistan at any point. I can completely understand the fears of the players. And I know comparisons to Ashes/London bombings, or IPL/Jaipur, etc. may not be completely warranted, but it's something to think about. IMO, nothing would ever have happened to the players. But the overall climate resulting from any untoward incidents in Pakistan off the cricket field would have made things quite uncomfortable for all involved.
- For Pakistanis, I think it is very disappointing. Cricket is a diversion for the ordinary citizen and it would have felt good for Pakistanis to host the entire cricketing world. But, I think there is one other reason that led to the CT postponement - the lack of attendance in Pakistan's matches. It may not be an immediately obvious cause, but the near empty stands in recent matches (even some involving Pakistan were very poorly attended) makes it easier for the authorities to make decisions without taking into account the fans. Pakistanis have to start working on this. Many matches are basically free and still attendance is abysmal.
- I'm confused by countries' earlier willingness to send weaker teams. I would not feel too great if I were a "weaker" player, knowing that my life is not as valuable as others!
- A month of no cricket is way too juicy for teams and boards to ignore. While it's a good time for a rest for players, it's also a great time to make money (like it or not, that's the way things run). Expect some interesting ad-hoc series and tournaments in the next few weeks.