BCCI lets govt decide if India should play Pakistan in World Cup

Chennai: The Board of Control for Cricket in India has said the Centre will to decide on playing Pakistan in the upcoming World Cup in England.

In the wake of the suicide bomb attack at Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir, people have been raising their voice against playing cricket with Pakistan in the World Cup tournament starting May 30.

A major section of people are against playing Pakistan in the tournament.

The BCCI today said it would abide by whatever decision the Cabinet takes on the issue.

The suicide bomber in the terror attack killed 40 CRPF jawans who were being bussed to Srinagar, the summer capital of J&K.

The Jaish-e-Mohammed terror outfit, based in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the dastardly attack on a busy highway.

The International Cricket Council Tuesday said it does not foresee any change in the schedule of the mega event. Former India player Harbhajan Singh wanted the Indian team to call off their June 16 match against Pakistan in Manchester. However when asked about the matter, Richardson made it clear that there is no such indication as of now that the match will be cancelled.

“Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this terrible incident and we will be monitoring the situation with our members,” Richardson said, offering his condolences on the ghastly terror attack. “There is no indication that any (of the) matches at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup will not go ahead as planned,” Richardson said in a statement to PTI.

“Sport, in particular cricket, has the wonderful ability to bring people together and unite communities and we will work with our members on that basis,” he added.

Even the men who mattered in BCCI said that not playing Pakistan in the World Cup is a “long shot” as of now. “Harbhajan had shared his point of view but he didn’t clarify what happens if we are again pitted against them in semi-final or suppose final. Does that mean that we will be forfeiting World Cup semi-final or final? So we are all talking about hypothetical situations,” a senior BCCI official said.

“For the record, India played Pakistan in a World Cup game in England in 1999 edition when Kargil War was at its peak,” the official added.

On Monday, Harbhajan Singh told a news channel: “India should not play Pakistan in the World Cup. India are powerful enough to win the World Cup without having to play Pakistan.”

“This is a difficult time. The attack that has happened, it was unbelievable and it’s very wrong. Strict action will surely be taken by the government. When it comes to cricket, I don’t think we should have any relations with them otherwise they will keep treating us like this,” he added.

Harbhajan said India doesn’t need to revive any sort of sporting ties with Pakistan as a mark of respect to the martyred CRPF jawans. “I don’t think India should play the World Cup match against Pakistan. Country comes first and we are all standing behind our country. Cricket or hockey or sports, it should be kept aside because this is a huge thing and repeatedly our soldiers are killed,” the veteran off-spinner had said.

Many affiliated units have removed photos and portraits of Pakistani cricketers with one of the oldest units, Cricket Club of India (CCI), leading the way by covering a portrait of Pakistan PM Imran Khan. Punjab Cricket Associations (PCA) and Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) have also removed the pictures of Pakistani players.