Saturday, 14 April 2012

Time for a Peace Series

Sports is a big uniting force. This is not a new fact but known to almost all. When Pakistan played Afghanistan in Sharjah, the though usually divided nation was completely united behind the match. President Hamid Karzai was known to be curious about the score. The biggest thing however which should raise eyebrows is that even Taliban called and wished luck to the cricket team and have openly declared that they will continue to support Cricket even after they come to power.

Remember this is the same Taliban who had banned all sports including even Kite Flying!!!! How come they are supporting Cricket. Well that is the power of sports, that it can melt even the most of the hardliners too.

Can the 4 Captains be the Peacemakers- MS Dhoni (Ind), Misbhah (Pak), Nowroz Mangal(Afg) & Sushil Nadkarni (USA)

Now what would be the most vulnerable place that can cause the 2012 Myth to come true? No it is not Israel. I give you a hint, that Area contains about a fifth of World Population, it has 2 of the 9 countries with Nuclear Weapons. Yes you got it right. It is South Asia.

Peace and South Asia are not synonymous. At one side we have 2 biggest Rivals India and Pakistan. Then we have Afghanistan where the word peace is tipped to be knocked off the Dictionary. The others do not also fare better. The USA lead forces with all their might have been trying to bring control in the countries but without much results.

But where Bullets and Bombs could do nothing, the Ball can do a lot. Not any other ball but over favorite Cricket ball should come into play. Afghanistan is a cricket mad country. USA is the second biggest cricket market due to the influential South Asian community there. Besides USA and Afghanistan itself, India and Pakistan are also major players for peace in the country. Without these 2 nothing will move forward and inch and what is good, these 2 nations are also absolutely cricket crazy.

USA has tried the other route and perhaps it is the time where it should move ahead and try this route to move ahead. Let the rivalries come out on the Cricket pitch and not in the countryside.

US should declare the intention of a peace series to kick start the stalled peace process and go ahead and invite the teams from Ind, Pak & Afg to visit USA and host a quadrangular series the "Peace Series". It should push the governments to arrange for teams to take out time for these series. Obama can surely push Sharad Pawar, Manmohan Singh, Gilani & Karzai to force the 4 boards to send their best teams.

Can Obama arrange the 4 boards to come for the Peace Series

 Imagine the likes of India and Pakistan playing each other. The though of the 2 in the peace series will create vibe all over the world. Involving Afghanistan and USA would bring a much more holistic perceptive. Afghans surely will be happy to be involved with the 2 best cricket nations and the nation can feel proud behind their team. USA Cricketers will relish the chance to play these 3 top teams which they may never get in the country. A lot of goodwill can be created in all the 3 South Asian countries for USA. Perhaps the cricket emotional South Asians would be happy to support Obama for next elections for raising the profile of their favorite sports in their country.

USA which has got a lot of negative publicity in Pak & Afg would get many positive vibes as sports makes people forget everything. With such a positive start then it can be followed by more diplomatic initiatives. Cricket is the ice breaker that USA presently needs.

Lastly the ICC should also encourage such a move as
1. Cricket will make all the right moves in it's strategic market of USA
2. It can generate lot of revenues for ICC if it decides to organize it
3. ICC get a good name

At present there is no such talk, but if US was to open it's eyes, it is one of the significant ways to get all the moves right with just 1 sports tournament. I hope that some diplomat in US will look outside for ideas and makes peace return to a fifth of world population.

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