This week, the South African city of Cape Town is hosting the Indian Premier League—a shorter version of the game of cricket, which is almost a religion in south Asia. So what does a friendly game of cricket have to do with global terrorism and the demise of international law?
The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the result of cricket fans demanding a shortened version of the game—from a daylong affair to something about half that. There's globalization for you.
IPL, in its second season now, attracts the best cricketing talents from across the world. The money flowing into the league is substantial, too—top IPL cricketers can command upwards of $1 million in annual salary. The glamour comes from the Bollywood stars and leading Indian industrialists who gamble on teams and players.
But security breaches in the subcontinent over the past few months have led league organizers to move the games to South Africa, according to the Economist. Recent attacks in Mumbai and a terror attack on cricketers in Pakistan’s city of Lahore reflect the bold initiatives of terror groups that seek to destabilize the region. To be sure, such events only highlights the reality of geopolitical uncertainty in the Asian subcontinent.
Clearly, the impact of such attacks has translated into a political and economic loss for India. A BBC News report states that losses from gate receipts could go up to 500m rupees, while the Indian tourism industry anticipates a loss of over 500m rupees. Having to give up the opportunity to host the games across India will leave lots of disappointed viewers too—India's billion plus population craves Cricket games and will now have to settle with watching the games on television.
South Africans have been generous to welcome the IPL, but the geopolitical scenarios in South Asia reflect a new and more dangerous environment—one that only an honest, collaborative effort by the governments of the region can help to meet the challenges of rising terrorism in their backyards. And as cricket crazy fans in south Asia watch the IPL league games on their television sets, they will quietly be praying for a more stable environment, that would eventually bring the game back to their cities and stadiums.