Pakistan and India are notorious for being archrivals in the cricket world. Tempers recently flared when far-right Hindu nationalists from the Shiv Sena party attacked the Board of Control for Cricket in India offices as a protest against games with Muslim Pakistan.
The teams from Pakistan and India are currently debating a series scheduled for December. The Pakistan Cricket Board has threatened to pull its team out of the 2016 International Cricket Council World Twenty20 tournament in March if India chooses not to participate in the December series.
Protesters burst through the doors of the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium holding signs and shouting at Pakistani cricket chief Shahryar Khan.
Khan was preparing to meet with BCCI chief Shashank Manohar to discuss the planned December series.
“Ten people have been arrested and bailed,” said Mumbai Police Deputy Commissioner Dhananjay Kulkarni to Agence France-Presse after the attack. “Thirty-five were involved so we are looking to arrest a few more.”
The attack has sparked anger in many people who feel that a radical political party should not have any control over the affairs of the BCCI. Those like former Pakistani spinner Abdul Qadir believe that India should be held to its agreements with the ICC rather than being ordered by the Shiv Sena.
“We should stop running after India now and put pressure on the ICC,” Qadir told the Express Tribune. “Every cricket fan wants to see this series happening. It isn’t right for the BCCI to walk away from a signed agreement.”
Shahryar Khan spoke in reference to the Shiv Sena and their excessive power in India.
“A small minority has taken India hostage … It should be controlled,” said Khan.
Indeed many people hope to see this series finally play out. Cricket fans all over the world always look forward to the India-Pakistan game because they have such a heated rivalry.
“India-Pakistan matches have always proved to be a fascinating contest between two top cricket teams that have always drawn great interest,” said Early College senior Pratham Chhabria.
“For this tour to be canceled due to the drastic actions of those who are regarded by most Indians, even Mumbaikars like me, as revolting purveyors of bigotry, is rather unfortunate.”
But while cricket fans from both India and Pakistan want to see the series played, some players and fans feel that hosting it in India could be unsafe.
“If there is so much fire in India and people are so against the series with Pakistan, then it will create difficulties for the World Twenty20,” said ICC President Zaheer Abbas to Pakistani TV reporters. “Pakistani players might refuse to tour India because their lives could be at risk.”
Pakistan is now asking for a series to be played in a neutral venue to prevent further violence and transgression. But things are not looking great for a series that was planned to take place less than a month from now.
“To me, the possibility of an Indo-Pak series is close to over,” said Khan. “(But) we will keep our hopes high ‘til the closure of all doors.”
Until both sides can compromise, cricket fans all over the world will be eagerly awaiting a sign that they can put their differences aside and play both of the series.
“Nothing could be better than India-Pakistan playing with each other,” said Abbas. “The whole world and the people of both the countries are waiting for the series.
“The world is hoping that India will give good news to the cricketing world.”