Tim May, chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers Associations, explains why Australia are likely to tour India, but wouldn’t visit Pakistan (like usual) for the Champions Trophy:
“Pakistan has had 66 suicide bombings within its country over the past 12 months with over 3,000 people killed and 17 of those attacks had been in the venues of the Champions Trophy. There was no security assessment that there was the likelihood of any further bombs going off in Jaipur.”
It’s unfortunate that May chose to mention the numbers of lives lost, as if there were some limit at which point cricket tours couldn’t happen. We don’t think he meant that though. He was really citing the frequency of Pakistani suicide bombings.
But how much worse is that than the situation in India? Five bombs went off in New Delhi yesterday, which means Australia will be playing matches in four cities that have suffered bomb blasts this year: New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Jaipur.
You would think that Jaipur would worry Australia most. Jaipur is a major tourist town and there were ten bombs there in May – although fortunately four didn’t go off. The security assessment says there’s little likelihood of any further bombs going off, but how exactly do you reach such a conclusion?
The situation is worse in Pakistan, but there’s a suspicion that there are other reasons why Australia and the Australian players fundamentally want to play in India and fundamentally don’t want to play in Pakistan. Matches against India are higher profile and there would be knock-on effects for the rather lucrative IPL.
Are there any holes in the security assessment that might indicate priorities? It only takes one bomb to endanger lives. How are they drawing this line that falls so that Pakistan can’t be toured, but India can?