Sydney: Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) director-general Javed Miandad's family ties with Karachi-based underworld kingpin Dawood Ibrahim are affecting cricketing relations between India and Pakistan, cricketer-turned-columnist Peter Roebuck believes.
Dawood, whose daughter is married to Miandad's son, is alleged to have played a key role from his base in Karachi in providing support to the perpetrators of last month's terror attacks in Mumbai.
Roebuck wrote in his column in the Sydney Morning Herald that the relation has the potential to drive an even deeper wedge between the cricket communities of Pakistan and India and to add to the sufferings of a game facing the worst crisis in its history.
The Englishman adds that suggesting Miandad's involvement in the attacks would be ridiculous but his link with the don is certain to raise a few eyebrows.
"But in this volatile environment, his links with Dawood and his seniority in Pakistan cricket have caused consternation among eminent Indian cricket officials, some of whom lost friends or family members in the attacks. It does not bode well for relations between these cricketing strongholds," he said.
Dawood is described by the US State Department as a "global terrorist with links to al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba", the latter group responsible for the Mumbai massacre that claimed more than 170 lives.
"Dawood's reputed involvement in the latest evil might seem a solely political matter. Obviously, his alleged activities and continued liberty anger the Indians beyond measure, but that does not reach across the boundary. He has also been linked to the latest match-fixing scandals surfacing in the Twenty20 leagues, which is nothing new," said Roebuck.
Roebuck feels that in this climate of political intrigue and distrust, even a tenuous and innocent connection can be a problem.
"Specifically, he (Dawood) has close connections with Javed Miandad, Pakistan's greatest batsman and now among its most senior cricket officers. His connection with Dawood goes back a long way, and was cemented by the marriage between his son and one of the don's daughters," he added.
Roebuck said that inevitably cricket has been caught in the backwash.
"Already, India's sports minister has spoken out against sending the national team to Pakistan, and Sunil Gavaskar has backed him up. Barring an unexpected outbreak of enlightenment, the forthcoming tour will not take place, increasing Pakistan's cricketing isolation," he said.