Cricket in South Asia: critically injured?

March 3, 2009

This is not the first time cricket or cricketers were targeted in the subcontinent, especially Pakistan.

India’s 1982-83 tour of Pakistan was disrupted after rioting marred the last Test in Karachi. Who can forget the sight of scared cricketers scampering to the pavilion as an angry mob invaded the pitch at the National Stadium.

In May 2002, a car bomb exploded in Karachi in front of the hotel where the New Zealand team was staying, killing 13 people, including 11 French navy experts. New Zealand called off the tour within hours of the attack.

As ironic as it may sound, New Zealand cricket has had quite a few close calls in the subcontinent.

Despite the threat to players’ security, something which has led to postponement or cancellations of many tours, the subcontinent has always presented a united front which many will say was instrumental in the centre of gravity of world cricket shifting from England to South Asia.

There was always the fear of violence, the threat was clear and present, but what unfolded outside the Gaddafi Stadium at Lahore took the fear and threat to a new realm. Is cricket in the continent critically injured?

Spare a thought for the Lankan cricketers. They are trained to face the best of bowling, not bullets and grenades.

They say cricket is played between your ears. Thilan Samaraweera scored his second double hundred in a row in the second test against Pakistan on Monday.

Will things still be the same for a Samaraweera or a Kumar Sangakkara as they take guard?

Sri Lanka stepped in as a replacement after India cancelled its own tour of Pakistan in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks last November. Will they be as bold and supportive in future?

Can cricket recover from this body blow?


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I want to reiterate that pakistan is not south asia. just because an incident happened in pakistan doesn’t mean whole of south asia is under threat. violence in pakistan happens on a daily basis.

there is a huge difference between pakistan and other south asian cricketing nations. i think anyone should take into account the difference in geopolitics and culture of each nation in the area before vomitting out a blog like this. to a less informed reader this could generate an instant stereotype that all the nations are similar to pakistan. a huge insult to any indian , matter of fact.

Posted by vivek | Report as abusive

Hi Vivek,

You wrote: there is a huge difference between pakistan and other south asian cricketing nations.

Point taken. And, this post was never intended at hurting/insulting sentiments – neither yours nor of any other Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan or Bangladeshi.

This was purely an attempt to shine light on a horrific incident which is likely to test the resolve and unity of South Asian cricket playing nations.

South Asia as a bloc had presented a united front in the past when pitted against a reluctance/refusal of other nations to play in the region citing security issues. If you remember, a joint team from Pakistan and India travelled to Colombo (Feb 1996) in a show of solidarity after Australia and the West Indies refused to play preliminary World Cup matches in Sri Lanka a week after a massive bomb blast killed 80 people.

So, this was not a broad-brush post at all. Hope you did notice that we’d posted another blog 4/pakistan-cricket-plunges-into-crisis/ which speaks more specifically about cricket in Pakistan.

Tks for writing

Posted by Madhu Soman | Report as abusive

Poor SriLankan players paid for their Government’s appeasement of Pakistan for supporting the fight against LTTE.

Posted by Raju Cherian | Report as abusive

Instead of running away from Pakistan Srilanka must replace the injured players and continue with their tour. What happened to their rhetpric when they replaced India on this tour.

Posted by Sree | Report as abusive

Hey Madhu,

thanks for the response. It is just not you, it has become a tradition or customary for ,especially for pakistanis, to camouflage any local crisis as a south asian crisis. I am particularly worried because , in the west, there is not lot of time for people to micro analyse deeply these finer things and it could be really taken into a wrong context that and be stereotyped that other nations are also like that.

this is not the only time i have seen south asia and sub continent has been used loosely. it is also deeply frustrating when a country that encouraged and bred terrorism is now portraying it as a victim of it. I couldn’t digest people trying to hijack the situation and compare it to 26/11 mumbai attacks which drew a lot of concern if not sympathy from all over the world.

it is also difficult explaining people in the western nations how we are different from pakistanis although this globalization has helped us indians a bit. Previously we were known as a land of poor and snake charmers.

I would be grately if all the journalists describe pakistan as pakistan and not concoct the crisis as south asia’s . it only sends shivers and cynicism through the mind of foreign cricketers and the readers.

Posted by vivek | Report as abusive


excellent point

The underlying objective of this shwoing by sri lanka in Pak is to stand in solidarity with a fellow south asian country in need of support.

They should replace the injured and travel back to Lahore soon to complete the ongoing series.Thats what India did a few years ago, to go play in Sri Lanka, when non asians refused to travel to srilanka to play in the name of security or lack there of it.

Posted by AzadDP | Report as abusive