The landscape of the Indian terrain changed once more less than a fortnight ago, this time perhaps more laudably than it has had in years. In that light, while it is great that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to scrap the opening ceremony of the Indian Premier League and instead donate the money, more needs to be done from the sport’s giant organization.
For a week now, the cacophony has been loud as it has been clear. Public sentiment is enraged that there is not enough being said from the Indian cricket contingent and fraternity, particularly the richest, most influential cricket body in the world in the wake of the Pulwama attacks on the Indian army convoy. While the nation mourned the loss of the brave soldiers who are just the latest in the line of casualties and lives lost with the ongoing proxy war at the country’s border over the Kashmir dispute, the time has come when the BCCI must now show its real mettle, where it matters.
For the past decade Pakistan cricketers were already isolated in that they were not allowed to play the IPL. A major setback even as cricketers from other countries cashed in on the money spinner, it failed to set straight Pakistan Cricket Board or the country in terms of realizing that in being isolated from a revenue source in a major world sport, Pakistan was facing dark days. The BCCI refused to honour its bilateral commitments in the wake of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008 which has meant that Pakistan were already at the losing end of the stick as far as a revenue generating bilateral series were concerned and their latest attempt to sue for compensation was squashed without ceremony.
However, given that India’s absence has seriously dented Pakistan’s cricket financially, if not in the sense of image, and with the BCCI being arguably the richest and the most influential cricket board anywhere in the world, generating almost seventy per cent of the world’s income from cricket, there is a loud silence emanating from the cricketers who represent the nation under the banner of the BCCI.
Although the sum from the IPL opening ceremony has been stated anywhere between five crore rupees to twenty crore rupees which will now be wisely donated to the martyrs’ families who suffered tremendous, irreplaceable loss as a result of the Pulwama attack, given that the Kashmir issue has been an ongoing point of contention between India and Pakistan and the loss of lives innumerable, there is grave dissatisfaction that the current generation of cricketers who are not only ambassadors for the country but also, have a formidable voice, particularly on social media, have not taken a stance but instead cowered under the unwritten gag order of the BCCI from speaking their minds and taking a stand.
While money will go a long way towards taking care of some of these families’ financial needs, it is ultimately not the solution or the means to an end to a problem that does not just affect one region of the country alone. With cricket being a pseudo religion in the country, cricket has the ability to make one of the bigger impacts on Pakistan’s income and reputation which is why India’s cricketing voice has to be one of the louder ones.