The Committee of Administrators (CoA) running Indian cricket on Friday decided not to organise a regular IPL opening ceremony for the year 2019 as the entire budget for the event will be donated to the families of Pulwama attack martyrs, Vinod Rai, the head of the administration said. The decision was taken at a crucial CoA meeting held today to address the spiralling speculation around the June 16 World Cup face-off between India and Pakistan at the Old Trafford in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, which left 42 CRPF personnel dead.
Speaking to the media, Vinod Rai said, "We will not have a regular IPL opening ceremony and the amount of the budget for the opening ceremony will be given to families of the victims of this terror attack".
CoA member Vinod Rai: We'll not have a regular IPL opening ceremony and the amount of the budget for the opening ceremony will be given to families of the victims of this terror attack. #PulwamaAttack pic.twitter.com/WVe8txWx7z— ANI (@ANI) February 22, 2019
However, the administration is yet to take a call on the June 16 India vs Pakistan match in the World Cup 2019 but said it will write to the International Cricket Council (ICC), expressing concerns about the gruesome terror attack that took place in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14.
"We are in talks with the government. No decision has been taken on the June 16 match. We are expressing two concerns to the ICC. We will ask for more protection for players during the World Cup and we will tell cricketing nations to sever ties with any nation that is a terrorist hub," CoA chief Vinod Rai told reporters after the meeting.
There were reports that the CoA and the BCCI might approach the ICC seeking Pakistan's ouster from the cricketing extravaganza in England that is scheduled to start on May 30. However, even such a move is unlikely to make any difference as there is no provision in the world body's regulations that allow one member to seek the ouster of another.
The call to boycott Pakistan from the mega event has come from some prominent names in Indian cricket such as senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and former captain Mohammed Azharuddin.
However, offering a different view, former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar said that India should not hand over points to Pakistan by boycotting the game. He advocated continued shunning of bilateral cricket ties.
(With inputs from agencies)