Article by Shane Dell
The events which transpired in the United States on September 11, 2001, with the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, are likely to have repercussions not only in the political and economic world as we know it, but more than likely will impact our everyday way of life and how we would normally enjoy simple daily activities such as the following of our favourite sports.
It is unknown at this time whether or not this impact will be either long or short term so far as the sport of cricket goes, but none the less, we would be foolish to think that no repercussions will be felt within the cricket world. The short to medium term future of the sport will no doubt depend on what events transpire in the coming weeks or months. The future of international cricket may well be in the hands of both political and military leaders. If the world or even a small number of nations become embroiled in a military conflict, there is no doubt the impact on cricket will be immediate and possibly long lasting.
Although the expected military response by the US government to the terrorist attacks in New York is yet to materialise, the fact further threats of acts of terrorism and instability are anticipated, have been enough for the ICC to take advice from governments worldwide and cancel the forthcoming ICC Executive meeting scheduled to begin on 15th October in Lahore, Pakistan.
Even if the anticipated military response does not eventuate, we may still feel the affects of the ill feeling between Islamic nations and the West on cricket, as a result of several world teams consisting of players from either an Islamic nation or background. Pressure will be upon many of these players to make a political statement by refusing to play against teams from the West and even the sub-continent as is often the case with scheduled matches between India and Pakistan, which are regularly canceled as a result of political interference and or differences.
Compounding the problem of international tours and scheduled series is the security fears of teams who would normally travel to the host nation for many matches by air. There is no doubt in the current atmosphere these fears are well founded, not only is there the fear of a terrorist attack during air travel, but also a high risk for many of these teams within the host nation itself. The instability of nations such as Pakistan at the very least, present as an unacceptable risk during current tensions. Pakistan recently announced it may play host to US troops in the event the country is to be used as a staging post for attacks on the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, a decision not very popular with the Pakistani people and resulting in radical groups within the country making threats to attack both US targets and their allies within the country itself.
With the recent events it is ridiculous to say that politics should not cross the barrier and have an impact on sport itself, the fact is, no matter what we think about that statement, international cricket is and will continue to feel the impact of these events. One can only say, letís hope the impact is kept to a minimum and it is not a long term one. The sport of cricket thrives on the competition of international teams and will no doubt be dealt a severe blow if the anticipated hostilities go on for any real length of time.
Itís time for the world to sit together and discuss their differences and leave the battles to be fought in the sporting arena and the champions to return home to the glory of their sporting achievements, and not the thought of politics, religion, terrorism or cultural differences.
It recently came to light that the perpetrators of the London tube bombings during the Ashes Series in 2005 intially contemplated poisoning the Australian and English cricket teams during the Ashes Test match held at Headingley. It was planned to infiltrate the team dressing rooms at dispense lethal Sarin nerve gas, however at least one of the terrorists objected to the plan due to the fact he had a love of the sport of cricket, a fact which persuaded the terrorist cell to change itís target to the London transport system.