Tuesday, September 28, 2021
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Ball in Government’s Court

Pakistan’s sporting connections are in doldrums and with February 14 episode, the terror fears have doubled all over the world and Pakistan is kept away from all sporting activities. The World Cup 2019 was not an exception and BCCI is crying foul and pushing the ball in government’s court altogether. The governing body had tried to get rid-off Pakistan through ICC and now after the Pulwama terror attack, Indian board is under pressure to call off match between the arch-rivals. Even former cricketers are also demanding to cut off sporting ties with Pakistan at all levels and the World Cup is not an exception to this. Just like the apartheid policy of the Indian government is not playing Davis Cup finals against South Africa, the government should take an early decision and make things more transparent rather dragging the matter till the last moment. The ball is in the government’s court and it is time to decide once for all.

The BCCI is pressing hard to keep Pakistan out of the World Cup 2019 and that is top of the cricketing world as of now. In a competitive game like cricket at the highest level, refusing to play against a team will be considered as forfeiting of the match and thus the chances of losing valuable points is there. On the other hand, if one tries to influence ICC to get rid of one team that is not practically possible even on political grounds. Somehow, we are trying our best to keep Pakistan out of the tournament after the February 14 suicidal attack on our convoy of buses carrying CRPF Jawans. It is a matter of shame that Pakistan is resorting to terrorism and even sporting relations are affected due to such attacks and spoil the hopes of sport-loving public of both the countries. World Cup woes continue to affect the chances of both India and Pakistan.

There have been calls to boycott the June 16 World Cup match against Pakistan at the Old Trafford in the aftermath of the attack but the Indian cricket board has not yet taken a call, putting the ball in the government’s court. Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar are urging India to play and beat Pakistan and denying them any leeway in the tournament.
However, there are counter-views with another former skipper Sourav Ganguly and one of the country’s top wicket-takers Harbhajan Singh calling for a boycott of sporting ties with the neighbouring country.

There are three prospects arising out of the ticklish situation of participating in the 2019 World Cup in England.  If it is Yes, then there is a need for India to send a strong message, beyond just the political one, to Pakistan. If it is No, then India would unnecessarily lose points by boycotting Pakistan. A move to ban Pakistan from the Cup is better. Again No means then it implies that sports and politics shouldn’t be mixed. It only makes the situation worse.


(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)
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