You know why Ramiz Raja, leading the Pakistan Cricket Board, never tires of boycott threats. Being repetitive doesn’t deter him.
When Jay Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, said, pouring cold water on popular hopes on both sides of the border, there was no way India would play in the Asia Cup in Pakistan, Raja said Pakistan wouldn’t come to India for the 50-over World Cup next year either.
Having realised the possibility that the Asia Cup might be shifted, Raja has let it be known that his boys will skip it if the tournament is to be held elsewhere.
However galling India’s administrative chokehold on the game, it’s quite unlikely that any of Pakistan’s hissy fits will leave the world cowering. And, probably, Raja knows it just as well. But the play-to-the-patriotic gallery blabber gets him headlines and an appreciable measure of social importance.
But there’s this thing about the good times we coax from life: they do not always come with a happy-ever-after tag. Raja is now perhaps a man minus credibility even inside his own country.
How can he force India ~ never mind Australia and England have taken the plunge and visited Pakistan ~ when he moves about in a bullet-proof car himself? That’s a question that has been raised on social media by Pakistanis with no answers coming from him. It’s security, or rather the lack of it, that New Delhi will ask the BCCI about when a trip is to be decided on.
India will, of course, be extremely wary, given what it has gone through. Raja’s boycott threats, in this context, can only make things worse for Pakistan in that well might countries like Afghanistan and Bangladesh take India’s side.
Danish Kaneria has said this, apparently supported by others. The former cricketer has urged Raja not to overplay his hand, considering India, resourceful and self-assertive, will simply not be worried about how the PCB chooses to move, leaving Raja and his underlings to mouth excuses like “global pressure” and “unavoidable circumstances” when the team fly out to India for the World Cup, simply because not playing in an International Cricket Council tournament could be financially disastrous for any country.
Raja has instead been told to try his hand at what he can, and should, do, with the Rawalpindi wicket being cited as an example of what a mess his board is in. Earlier this year, with Australia playing, Pakistan laid out a pitch which yielded 1187 runs for 14 wickets over five days. The ICC deemed the track “below average.”
But there was no difference when England played in Rawalpindi, provoking the criticism that even retired batsmen would have made centuries. Raja can’t peg everything on patriotism.