Harmanpreet Kaur has already been judged and punished and it will affect her cricket bio for the rest of her life. Long after she is gone, people will remember her transgressions along with her cricket records. The true victim of Kaur's actions is herself.

ICC and international affairs

HK's stumps breaking is a semi reflexive action, a result of what she thought was an unfair out given by the umpire. Had she stopped at that, she would have come out looking bad but part of a forgettable incident affecting India's global cricket brand. But it's what she did after the match was tied that has turned many opinions against her including in India.

Kaur verbally trashed the BCB, umpires and then even the Bangladesh team at the presentation and photo shoot turning the entire scenario ugly. That is where it became a matter of inter-state relations, not just cricket. When the Bangladesh team was led away by Nigar Sultana, it was no longer about Kaur's foul mouthing but India's captain fool mouthing Bangladesh cricket.

Her fate was basically sealed at that point. Though a small fry in international cricket, Bangladesh can't be ignored like smallies. That is because the big stake is not Dhaka but Islamabad who is part of the same league. If this is how India behaves with a smaller country, Pakistanis may just well be saying, "well maybe we must rethink ICC venues again, " or whatever that affects ICC.

So cricket is not about sports only, it's about diplomacy as well, not to mention money. ICC must protect them all. Kaur simply had to be punished to protect the ICC as the ultimate body in which Indo-Pak rivalry plays a critical financial part.

India also had its brand issue. IPL is one of the top three sports franchises in the world, nothing can be done to upset it. It's a big economy and not a "we are all friends "type of affair. And that is why cricket is not just about sports, no sports is. And unless one acts the brand is damaging to the cricket running world.

Media hype and Kaur

It's possible Kaur was not in the right state of mind when the series deciding match went out of her hand. She is one of the best players in the world but her captaincy life has probably run out. She needs to take counseling assistance because it's not just performance that weighs on her but the Indian national brand and a billion people's expectations. She has basically cracked under pressure and so needs help and not just punishment. Maybe she should rest from captaincy for a spell.

Meanwhile, the media has fed into the event and sports and mainstream news are full of stuff on her. She has had no support from the seniors and several Indian Women's team members and even ex-captains have strongly condemned her. She has become a media item but for the wrong reason and it has already damaged her brand.

Media is neither cruel nor manipulating but simply self-serving. It's a news item and no more and many are ready to talk about it. So media has been pumping the issue and more can be expected till something exciting happens in the sports world particularly in India.

Hyper -Patriotism and South Asian cricket

Of the few who have stood by her is Sriti Mandhana who is possibly becoming the captain as Kaur serves out her two match ban. She has said that Kaur was so affected because she cared about "India". It basically means her patriotism made her act this way. And that is where the ball runs to.

For ICC and the Australia-ENG- NZ, its largely a sports business and lifestyle affair but not the national priority. In South Asia, it's about the colours of the flag. And within South Asia, three countries -India-Pakistan-Bangladesh- have very sensitive attitudes towards each other. But what really shows the true colours of rivalry is the Indo-Pak scenario. So where does Bangladesh fit in?

It's the junior fellow in South Asia, who can't be ignored but is not taken seriously but the real heat is reserved for Indo-Pak fisticuffs. The recent WC venue choosing hassle shows how deep the political problem is. So Kaur has through her actions has given Pakistan a chance to make India look lesser. Shahid Afridi's comments show what India dislikes hearing most and there is no getting away from that.

The India-Pakistan-Bangladesh matches must have a special protocol governing them including mandatory DRS. Though W India is No 4 and Bangladesh is 9, even below Thailand, they show improvements and in the next few years will certainly be better performing than the men's team. That is why BCB should protect its team which achieved much in the series but got no attention really due to the Kaur affair.

To protect cricket, one has to make sure that politics is safe. Expressions of goodwill have no significance but being careful has.

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