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The cricket world is shocked and disappointed after cancelation the New Zealand tour of Pakistan right before the toss of the 1st ODI at Rawalpindi cricket stadium. Things are certainly not going right for Pakistan Cricket lately. Fortunes are not favoring Pakistan, or is it an effort to isolate Pakistan Cricket?
A lot of drama has been around Pakistan Cricket in the past two months. Let’s explore each of them one by one and find out whether BCCI plans to isolate Pakistan cricket or not?
Afghanistan Home Series against Pakistan Postponed
The series between Pakistan and Afghanistan was part of the ODI World Cup Super League scheduled in the first week of September in Sri Lanka, which was originally set to be hosted at Sharjah. Still, due to IPL’s training sessions, ACB had to shift the matches to Sri Lanka.
Later, ACB expressed their challenges of hosting Pakistan in Sri Lanka due to their government’s policy of imposing a lockdown due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Interestingly, Sri Lanka themselves went ahead with their home series against South Africa in the same period.
Many speculations were made regarding Afghanistan’s home series against Pakistan in Pakistan. That news did not last long. On the 23rd of August, the Afghanistan cricket board released a statement in which they called off the ODI series due to logistical difficulties to host matches.
Unavailability of Umpire Decision Review System (DRS) in Pakistan and New Zealand Series
New Zealand was touring Pakistan after 18 years for the first time. The ODI series was part of the ODI World Cup Super League, and it held a lot of importance for Pakistan cricket since Kiwis are ranked No.1 ODI team. Moreover, New Zealand was the next team to tour Pakistan after South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe. This series had significant importance.
On the 9th of September, PCB regretfully announced that DRS would not be available in the series. Due to the unavailability of staff to manage the system during Pakistan’s home series. Reports suggested that BCCI hired the system operators of DRS for IPL’s UAE leg. A spokesperson from PCB revealed the following:
“It is not just about the availability of technology. It is also about the availability of people who can use the technology according to the described method. Moreover, is important to have ICC-approved DRS operators in international events and operators were not available during the period, that’s why the PCB has dropped DRS from the series,”
BCCI’s Threats to Foreign Players of KPL 2021
A private group in Pakistan planned to host a new T20 League in Pakistan to promote the cricket talent in Kashmir called the Kashmir Premier League. The league included 6 retired foreign players who were picked by each franchise on the draft on July 5th.
On the eve of the start of the tournament, the six foreign players were threatened by BCCI that if they participate in the tournament then India’s door would be closed forever. Out of the six players, only Herschelle Gibbs traveled to Kashmir to feature in the KPL 2021.
Cancelation of New Zealand Tour of Pakistan
The latest and most recent burst in the Pakistan cricket fraternity is the cancellation of New Zealand’s tour of Pakistan. The most concerning and strange decision was taken by New Zealand cricket unilaterally without discussing it with the Pakistan cricket board. Former cricketers, commentators, and cricket fans got disappointed and outrageous.
Another concerning fact about this event is that all security teams approved and showed satisfaction with the security arrangement in Pakistan. The New Zealand team practiced in Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium for three days without any threat or security concerns. Suddenly 20 minutes before the toss, Cricket New Zealand stopped their team from traveling to the stadium from the hotel.
Despite the assurance of Prime Minister Imran Khan on a call to his counterpart Prime Minister of New Zealand, NZC canceled the tour. PCB will be taking this matter to the ICC.
England and Australia Tour Under the Cloud
PCB’s efforts were finally materialized as England and Australia confirmed their tours to Pakistan after a long time. However, the cancelation of the New Zealand series has dented the efforts of PCB. It seems unlikely that Australia and England would agree to tour Pakistan. A spokesperson from English Cricket Board (ECB) released a statement:
“We are aware of New Zealand’s decision to pull out of the Pakistan tour due to a security alert. We are liaising with our security team who are on the ground in Pakistan to understand the situation fully,” the spokesperson said, adding that the ECB Board will then decide in the next 24-48 hours “whether our planned tour should proceed.”
What could be the Master Plan of BCCI to Isolate Pakistan Cricket?
Since the 5th of august 2019, constitutional change by the Indian government of Jammu and Kashmir, the relations of India and Pakistan have only deteriorated. The same policy has been seen in both PCB and BCCI. BCCI earlier threatened to boycott the Pakistan cricket team if they hosted KPL in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The series of events suggest that all these developments are not a coincidence. It is a master plan to isolate Pakistan cricket. BCCI is the most powerful and influential board in the cricket world, and expecting something from them cannot be a surprise. I would allow my readers to decide whether it is purely coincidence or part of BCCI’s plan.