Former Indian captain Mansoor Ali Khan shares his thoughts, on sharing the World Cup 1987 with Pakistan. Even if you happen to be an avid fan, nobody will have been surprised if you had not bothered to follow the Calcutta Test too closely. But if you did happen to switch on your television at the appropriate time, you would have heard Donald Carr saying how happy he was that the next World Cup had been awarded to India and Pakistan.
Unfortunately, and perhaps because Mr. Carr has little to do with the I.C.C. nobody bothered to press him why it was necessary to share it between the two countries. India, unlike Pakistan, has all the facilities and the infrastructure to organize an event which in size is nowhere in magnitude to the Asian Games.
Further, it can guarantee a full house for limited-overs cricket, and full houses in India mean many more thousands than can be accommodated in most foreign stadia. Above all, it was only India that prevented Packer from making his circus fully representative, and as Indian crowds came in droves to witness second elevens perform. Therefore, it can be justified that it was this country that saved traditional cricket administration still considers itself the main champion of this cause-from total humiliation.
While Mr. Carr is not a member of the body that so kindly gave the World Cup 1987 to India, he is still a very senior administrator. But the question would have probably embarrassed him but I expect he would have glossed over it smoothly to my mind, and putting it bluntly. India was truly conned Pakistan, because of sustained public relations, has a sympathetic lobby in the ICC. Moreover it quietly advised the Indian representatives that unless they were prepared to share the cake it would vote against India and also persuade the other affiliated bodies to do the same.
Amidst the wrangling it was most likely that England would emerge as the compromise candidate, and with its cricketing treasury depleted, would be delighted to put it on firmer grounds. Instead of flexing its own considerable muscles, and relying on the goodwill that it had created during the Packer crisis, India rather meekly conceded to the threatened pressure.
To satisfy the public the ever-ready argument that this was to help relations between two neighbors through the medium of sport was presented, but I wonder how many have actually fallen for it. Having accepted the responsibility, the Indian Board went into a huddle and, since there was a question of considerable foreign exchange involved, came to the conclusion that it could not do without the political help of a cabinet minister.
Mr. Salve, against the wishes of a few Board members, was “unanimously” re-elected. Nobody visualized a tragic assassination, or that Mr. Salve would find himself without a portfolio. Fortunately for the Board, it has a readymade replacement in the former Maharaja of Gwalior who has been the President of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association and is now a minister.
He will presumably find himself heading the cricket Board. He can tackle the bureaucracy, and there need be no problems of various teams zipping in and out of the country and even spectators from either side of the border offered special facilities. It has happened before, but only when times have been normal. Well, what is past is past.
The only problem that I can see is that World Cup 1987 is a long way from now and much can happen in 2 years, the kind of events over which the Board has no control. What happens if relations between Pakistan and India deteriorate and was this possible eventuality even considered in the ICC? I should doubt it for a border confrontation would automatically result in a cancellation and however regretfully, England would be the first to offer an alternative venue.