Cricket in the sub-continent suffering says Muttiah Muralitharan
The English team was touring India when 26/11 took place in Mumbai. There was a fierce attack on the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan while they travelled in their team bus after which all cricket in Pakistan was suspended. Now, some members of the Australian Cricket team have expressed reluctance to travel to Sri Lanka following their awareness of the atrocities committed in the Civil war. The sub-continent has suffered at the hands of violence and cricket is losing out. Terror revived itself with its full horror in Mumbai once again causing concern among cricketing circles in India. Fortunately, India are visiting England and no cricket is scheduled in the coming months.
This terror attack happened on verge of resurgent rumors about the possibility of India-Pakistan cricket. Pakistan have used the neutral venue ever since the attack on Sri Lankan team for its bilateral commitments. Pakistan have been suffering from frequent terror attacks in its territory and I widely regarded an unsafe place to visit by most countries. However, the objection raised upon traveling to Sri Lanka on moral grounds has worsened the situation in the sub-continent.
Muttiah Muralitharan was the first to react and urged the Australian players to reconsider their stand for the better of cricket. He said that International cricket is diminishing due to distrust and if the trend continues, leagues like the IPL would take over. He said, “If they (Australia) only play in some countries, world cricket will die and IPL will take over.” Muralitharan further emphasized on the need to separate sport and politics. He believed that individual players have the right to withdraw but boycotting the tour would be to take international cricket a step back.
The response in most Australian cricketers has been spurred by a documentary called the “Four Corners” which explicitly details the crimes committed by the armed forces on in the civil war. The Australasian Federation of Tamil Association has been urging the players to watch this documentary before making a final decision. A representative of the Federations said, “I hope the players have watched this and if they have concerns they should decide, they can take a collective decision and tell the government… we don’t feel like going and playing in a place like this.”
Whatever be the outcome of this issue, cricket in the subcontinent is suffering at the hands of violence. Even though politics and sport should be separate realms, security and human rights issues cannot be ignored.