NEW DELHI: The Committee of Administrators (CoA) and the BCCI have not prepared any note seeking a ban on Pakistan at the upcoming World Cup and even if such a move is made, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is bound to reject it.
The Pulwama attack that claimed the lives of over 40 CRPF personnel has escalated the diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan, the reverberations of which are also being felt in the sporting arena.
Already, Pakistani shooters couldn’t make the World Cup in Delhi, starting on Saturday, after not getting visas. And there is a demand for India to boycott its June 16 World Cup cricket clash against the neighbours and the matter is likely to come up on the sidelines of the ICC meetings between Feb 27 to March 2 in Dubai.
“There is absolutely no constitutional or contractual way this could happen. the ICC constitution allows members the right to participate in ICC events as long as they have qualified,” a BCCI official told Press Trust of India.
India to lose by boycotting Pakistan in the event: Gavaskar
Amid the spiralling speculation, the CoA, comprising chairman Vinod Rai and former women’s captain Diana Edulji, will be meeting in Delhi on Friday to discuss the issue of multiple bodies claiming representation of Uttarakhand. But the Pakistan conundrum is likely to cast a shadow on what was to be a routine meet.
“We will discuss all possible options tomorrow and do what is best for the country,” Edulji told PTI.
A top BCCI source said even if a note is sent and the ICC agrees to put it out in front of member boards for a vote, India is unlikely to find any support from other nations.
“In case India writes to ICC for Pakistan’s removal, then we have to build consensus first to move a resolution at it’s Annual Board Meeting in April. We no longer enjoy majority in the ICC board right now. If this goes for floor Test we are certain to lose,” he said. “Not only that, serious doubts will emerge on our chances to host the 2021 Champions Trophy and the 2023 World Cup.”
The call to boycott Pakistan has been made by some prominent voices such as former Indian Test cricketers Harbhajan Singh and Saurav Ganguly.
There have been calls — in the wake of Pulwama incident — from a number of quarters in India not only to boycott the World Cup match, but also to seek Pakistan’s ban from the tournament.
However, Indian government sources said that could act against India. “We should not get isolated in order to isolate Pakistan,” the sources told NDTV.
“By not playing against Pakistan, we will be giving them a walkover,” they said, referring to the two points India will lose if they don’t field a team for the match.
“Punitive action can be taken against us,” the sources further said. “The ICC can even impose ban on the BCCI. There is still lot of time. We should not react in hurry,” they added.
Meanwhile, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said that it is India who stands to lose if they decide not to play against Pakistan in the upcoming ICC World Cup.
“Who wins if India decides against playing Pakistan in the World Cup? And I am not even talking about the semis and the finals. Who wins? Pakistan wins because they get two points,” Gavaskar told India Today.
Amidst the growing clamour for a boycott of all cricketing ties with the neighbouring country, Gavaskar stated that India can, in turn, hurt their arch-rivals by beating them and ensuring that they are dumping out of the tournament.
“India has so far beaten Pakistan every time in a World Cup, so we are actually conceding two points when by beating Pakistan, we could make sure that they don’t advance in the competition,” he explained.
“[But] I am with the country, whatever the government decides, I am with it totally. If the country wants we shouldn’t play Pakistan, I am with them,” he said.
Explaining his point, Gavaskar added, “Where does it hurt Pakistan? It hurts them when they don’t play a bilateral series against India. In a multi-team event, India will lose by not playing them. The entire matter needs to be looked at with a little more depth, I can understand emotions are running high.
“But what happens when you don’t play them? I know India are strong enough side to qualify even after conceding those two points but why not beat them and make sure they don’t qualify,” argued Gavaskar.
Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2019