I’ve touched on this before, but I wanted to spend a bit more time on players’s threats to pull out due to security fears. It seems more than clear to me that Wasim Akram is correct when he sees a double standard, since the threat of terrorism lurks in almost all of the cricket world (bar, maybe, the West Indies). When countries regularly tour England, they may think they are safer than, say, Pakistan, but they’re not. Intelligence agencies repeatedly note that the threat level remains high there, and yet South Africa relished the chance to tour the old country.
But fine: actions speak louder than intelligence briefings, I suppose. There’s no arguing that Pakistan is, on its face, a tad more unstable. But then, so is India: during the Indian Premier League, a series of blasts rocked Jaipur (and a number of explosions did so just recently), but the resident team vowed to stay on and play (a good thing, since they went on to win the tournament). When money is involved, it appears, fears tend to disappear.
I’m not saying that players should head off to the most dangerous places in the world, safety be damned. There’s no particular need to tour the jungles of Colombia, or even the troubled western border in Pakistan. Still, players need to be level-headed when they make their judgment calls about security and threats, precisely because terror aims to exaggerate prevalent danger to the point of widespread fear and panic. Simply cordoning off whole countries as too dangerous belies the reality of our day, when a bomb can go off anywhere, at any time, and at any place.