Should Pakistan boycott the T20 World Cup in India?

02:51 PM | 11 Mar, 2016
Should Pakistan boycott the T20 World Cup in India?
A lot of my close friends (both Indian and Pakistani) have recently been asking my opinion on the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) reluctance to send the Pakistani team to India.

While I have absolutely zero interest in any Indo-Pak politics and don’t wish to offend anyone’s sentiments, I can’t refrain myself from expressing my views on this occasion.  The reason is simple, as always in cricketing matches involving India and Pakistan, we shift our focus away from cricket to politics.
Being a cricketing traditionalist, I have a big problem with India-Pakistan games for this very reason.  The increased media-hype diverts focus from what should be a good cricketing contest into a political battlefield. The game on the 19th March, and moreover, Pakistan’s participation in the tournament is turning into a political soap opera.

It is no secret, nor should it be a surprise, that if it were any other international team (such as Australia or England) in Pakistan’s current position, they wouldn’t have gone to India.
That said, the BCCI (Board of Cricket Control in India) is a financial powerhouse, and missing a tournament of this scale may result in severe financial consequences for the PCB.
But putting aside the economic implications, I personally still believe that Pakistan should NOT boycott this late in the day.  The PCB, as always, has been too late to react and should have been more proactive.  At the time of writing this article, it is quite embarrassing that the Pakistan team still hasn’t departed and is sitting idle at the PCB Headquarters in Lahore - with less than a week away from the biggest cricketing event of the year.

The shift of the India-Pakistan game from Dharamsala to Kolkata

I recall when the schedule for the tournament was released in December last year, it was very clear even then that Dharamsala was not fit for an India-Pakistan match.

There are 3 things that a visiting team typically considers when touring abroad:  facilities, security and supporter logistics.  Dharamsala failed on all 3 accounts – the ground is one of the smallest in India; the political tension was high, fuelled by the Shiv Sena; and lastly, as I experienced while making my travel arrangements for Dharamsala, it's nearly impossible to reach (my planned journey for the originally scheduled game involved an overnight 12 hour bus journey from Delhi).

It's not a coincidence that Anurag Thakur (current secretary of the BCCI) is also a Member of Parliament from Himachal Pradesh (the state in which Dharamsala sits), and was one of the key stakeholders in the development of the Dharamsala Cricket Stadium.  To allocate the most prolific group games (India-Pakistan and Australia-NZ) to Dharamasala was a political decision.

Pakistan touring India

Why is the PCB only now waking-up to the security issues of playing in India?  India had been chosen as a host nearly 3 years ago, and although Pakistan started to raise their hesitations about touring India last November, no concrete action was taken.  The PCB should have formally raised this issue with the ICC well in advance, not less than a week before the main tournament.

Moreover, it is also unlikely that many Pakistani fans will travel to India.  Not only has the Indian High Commission put restrictions on the total number of visas to be issued, it will also be very difficult to get visas processed in a short space of time.

Although Shahryar Khan (current head of the PCB) is a credible ex-diplomat, the way with which he has handled the current situation leaves a lot to be desired.  He took a similar passive approach in handling the Oval ball tampering fiasco in 2006.  Participation in the T20 could have also been used as a more solid bargaining chip against India for cancelling the scheduled test series in the UAE.

The ‘small’ matter of the tournament itself

To compound matters further, Pakistan’s focus at this minute in time should have been to overturn their poor showing at the Asia Cup.  Instead, the attention has been totally diverted to security and participation.

According to some sources, certain players are extremely nervous about traveling.  Pakistan isn’t expected to go past the group stages, but if Pakistan is to progress further in the tournament, the security situation will no doubt get worse.  One can't even contemplate how some extremist parties in India will react if Pakistan reached the tournament final.

This creates a 'lose-lose' situation for the team and it's extremely disappointing to see things turn out the way they have.  The PCB should have thought of these issues beforehand.

Omar is an Oxford University graduate and is working as a management consultant in London. He has recently completed his MBA from INSEAD. As well as being a keen player, he regularly travels to follow the Pakistan team overseas.


Pakistani rupee exchange rate to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 4 March 2024

Pakistani rupee remains stable against US dollar in the open market on March 4, 2024 (Monday).

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.3 for buying and 282.45 for selling.

Euro currently stands at 302.5 for buying and 305.5 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 354 for buying, and 359 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.3 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.5.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 4 March 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 279.3 282.45
Euro EUR 302.5 305.5
UK Pound Sterling GBP 354 359
U.A.E Dirham AED 76.3 77
Saudi Riyal SAR 74.5 75.3
Australian Dollar AUD 181 183
Bahrain Dinar BHD 737.97 745.97
Canadian Dollar CAD 207 209.2
China Yuan CNY 38.82 39.22
Danish Krone DKK 40.23 40.63
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.7 36.05
Indian Rupee INR 3.37 3.48
Japanese Yen JPY 2.1 2.18
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 901.62 910.62
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.49 59.09
New Zealand Dollar NZD 168.97 170.97
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.54 26.84
Omani Riyal OMR 725.68 733.68
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.74 77.44
Singapore Dollar SGD 207 209
Swedish Korona SEK 27.13 27.43
Swiss Franc CHF 314.07 316.57
Thai Bhat THB 7.74 7.89


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