Kolkata: Will the Bangladesh cricket team set a trend by touring Pakistan? Well, according to a report in Dawn, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has invited Bangladesh to play two T20 Internationals in Pakistan in May. Perhaps, the successful hosting of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final in Lahore has emboldened the PCB to start the process of resumption of international matches in the country. But isn’t the board showing a bit of an exaggerated enthusiasm? And will the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) agree to send its national team? Pakistan is slated to tour Bangladesh in July.
If we assess the ground reality, chances are bleak because politically, Bangladesh and Pakistan aren’t in the best of terms and it is quite unlikely that the BCB will be able to get a positive nod from the government. One may argue that the Bangladesh government had no qualms allowing cricketers to participate in the PSL. But let us not forget that Bangladesh itself is facing terror attacks. A senior minister of the cabinet had blamed Pakistan and the Inter Service-Intelligence (ISI) for the attack on a Dhaka restaurant attack last year. “They are openly supporting war criminals. So politically they are with Jamaat-e-Islami, politically they are with the militants. So that is a sad thing in the regional politics,” Information Minister Hasanul Haq was quoted by the media.
It may also be true that Bangladeshi players had no objection to travel to Lahore for the PSL final. Peshawar Zalmi’s Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal missed out on the final because of preparations for Bangladesh’s trip to Sri Lanka and not for security reasons. Anamul Haque of Quetta Gladiators played the final in Lahore. But to expect that it would inspire the Bangladesh government to give a green signal to the national team’s tour to the strife-ridden country would be far-fetched.
There’s another dimension to it. The BCB itself might not dare to antagonise the all- powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which quite justifiably is dead against even resuming bilateral series against Pakistan, leave aside touring the country. A green signal to the Pakistan tour from Dhaka may also not go down well with the Indian government. But these are all speculations and sports and politics should not be mingled. But out here it is a question of security and not mere political discourses.
One successful hosting of a cricket match doesn’t really usher in an era of a peaceful dawn. Let’s not forget that Pakistan is still a vulnerable country. Memories of the 2009 terror onslaught on the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team remain. And the withdrawal of quite a number of foreign cricketers from the PSL final in Lahore only vindicates the fact that all’s still not well.
However, this doesn’t really imply that international cricket will never return to Pakistan. It has to but to ensure its comeback , the political and the military establishments in Pakistan have a lot in hand to dispel doubts from the minds of international players.