Even as India are dealing with cross border tension with India, the Pakistan Cricket Board's bizarre request for assurance has piqued the Indian interests with not only the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) but also, fans asking if Pakistan can guarantee a ceasefire in tensions between the two countries.
PCB has been at wit's end, trying to first convince and then arm-twist the BCCI into keeping its commitment to the Future Tours Programme. Pakistan's financial losses have surmounted in the face of isolation and particularly after India refused to tour Pakistan after the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai and has subsequently put ideas of a resumption of bilateral tour and series at bay.
The past week has seen the PCB and the BCCI at odds over hosting the Asia Cup, with Pakistan adamant that if the ICC Twenty20 World Cup is canceled, the Asia Cup would go ahead in the September-October slot, a situation not acceptable to the BCCI which is keener to host the Indian Premier League, postponed since the end of March.
Now Wasim Khan, the PCB CEO, has stated the PCB has demanded that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should give assurance on behalf of the BCCI that Pakistan cricketers will not face visa issues when they decide to participate in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup and the ICC Cricket World Cup slated to be hosted in India in 2021 and 2023 respectively.
Pakistan cricketers have been isolated from playing on India soil since the end of 2008, the IPL therefore out of bounds since 2009. India did not host the Asia Cup and also, Pakistan had to also previously take the Asia Cup out of Pakistan so both teams could play in the multi-team tournaments on neutral venues.
However, the BCCI and also, the Indian fans, incensed by the problems with China, want Pakistan to assure that the export of terrorism with stop, that the infighting over Kashmir will cease, and that the life of the brave soldiers at the border are not unnecessarily sacrificed or harmed. The BCCI though is being unofficial in its response but Indian cricket fans have been more vocal.
At a time when the coronavirus pandemic has gripped the world and Pakistan is facing much scrutiny after 10 of its players turned positive for the first Test before embarking for the tour of England, as India grapples with the double blow of China, one would think that Wasim Khan not only picked the wrong time but also, the most bizarre way of ensuring Pakistan cricketers could play in India, knowing fully well the relationship between the two countries.