The fall-out of the Pulwama terror attack which killed 40 CRPF jawans is hitting the game of cricket hard, with several players and users on social media calling for the boycott of the India vs Pakistan ICC Cricket World Cup encounter in Manchester on June 16. Sachin Tendulkar, India’s greatest batsman, tweeted out a statement which said, “India has always come up trumps against Pakistan in the World Cup. Time to beat them once again. Would personally hate to give them two points and help them in the tournament. Having said that, for me India always comes first. Whatever my country decides, I will back that decision with all my heart.”
Sourav Ganguly, who has advocated a strong position against Pakistan and has called for cutting off all sporting ties with the country in the wake of the terror attack, has responded to Tendulkar’s comment stating, “He wants two points against Pakistan, I want the World Cup. Whichever way you look at it,” Ganguly was quoted by IANS.
Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar want Indo-Pak clash to happen. On the other hand, Harbhajan Singh, Saurav Ganguly, and Mohammad Azharuddin are against the idea of the game. Gavaskar, in an interaction with India Today TV channel, said the aim was to beat Pakistan in the field and not give them two points. “India decide not to play Pakistan in the World Cup, who wins? Pakistan will get two points. We have beaten them every time in World Cups. We can play them and beat them and make sure they don't reach the semi-finals. Not playing bilateral series vs Pakistan hurts them. I know India are strong enough to qualify by not playing Pakistan. Not playing bilaterally hurts them. But it's a World Cup, it's two points...," Gavaskar told the channel.
Virat Kohli, before the pre-match press conference against Australia in the T20I in Vizag, said the team will adhere to the decision the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the Government takes. "Our sincere condolences to the families of CRPF soldiers who lost their lives in Pulwama Attack. We stand by what the nation wants to do and what the BCCI decides to do. We will go by what the govt and the Board decides, we will respect that," Kohli stated.
Vinod Rai, the head of the Committee of Administrators (CoA), also advocated strong action against Pakistan. The move comes after BCCI CEO Rahul Johri had written a letter to the ICC and asked them to severe ties with nations that supported terror activities. “We would be shooting in the foot if we don't play Pakistan in the World Cup. Our aim should be to ostracise Pakistan as a cricketing nation. As I have said earlier, all cricketing nations should sever ties with them. They should be banned from all sporting activities just like it happened with South Africa,” Rai said in an interaction with PTI.
Earlier, as per the reports by NDTV, boycotting Pakistan clash in World Cup can draw a furious reaction from ICC and BCCI could be handed a ban by the international body. The Pulwama terror attack. “We should not get isolated in order to isolate Pakistan. Punitive action can be taken against us. ICC can even impose a ban on BCCI," the source further added.