It was hurting to many to see their national team playing cricket when the nation was going through their worst trauma following terrorists attack on Army Public School in Peshawar.
The inhumane attack left over 140 dead, mostly children. Following the attack on December 16, people expected that Pakistan’s fourth match against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi to be held the next day would be postponed as the nation lamented the carnage in Peshawar.
However, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced that it would postpone national events in Pakistan but they were constrained by unwilling New Zealanders and ‘broadcaster commitments’ from postponing the match.
To the board’s embarrassment, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has said that that they didn’t receive any request from PCB and they were very much in support of whatever the Pakistan team and board wanted to do.
New Zealand Cricket spokesman pointed out that the cricketing reasons were the Black Caps’ tight schedule which sees them depart for home on Sunday to prepare for next Friday’s Boxing Day test against Sri Lanka in Christchurch. There was no wriggle room so it was cancel or play, and it seems money and television rights deals won out.
A New Zealand tabloid added that NZC chief executive David White had contacted his PCB counterpart on Wednesday to offer help in any way they could, and said they would be guided by the PCB as to whether the match went ahead.
Apart from indirectly blaming New Zealand and broadcasters, PCB further unconvincingly tried to strengthen their decision of going on with the match saying that team Pakistan has been playing outside home only because of the threat of terrorism.
“If we allow terrorists to disrupt our matches abroad, then all will be lost,” PCB statement said. However, had they postponed the match it would have been in expression of solidarity with victims of terrorism rather than fear of terrorists.
PCB should have once recalled the second day of the third test between Pakistan and New Zealand before going on with the match. The test match was delayed for a day on agreement of both Pakistan and New Zealand teams after the death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes.
It all seems as if and especially after viewing it from NZC side, it is evident PCB let the match go because of so-called broadcaster commitments.
Although PCB postponed its events in Pakistan and the team observed two minutes of silence and wore black armbands in the match, the board has to be criticized for showing lack of proactiveness.
The think tank in the board must have understood the gravity of the situation. They must have understood that announcing that the match proceeds would go to the victims and the school would not bail them out.
Warning bells should have rang in their heads when experienced cricketer Younus Khan had said that it would be tough for the team to play under such circumstances.
PCB, on several affairs of cricket, has shown its inability to be proactive, it once more has shown that but on a very critical situation.