NEW DELHI: Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag believes that India have no option but to win the upcoming Indo-Pak clash during the ICC World Cup being held in England and Wales.
Arch-rivals India and Pakistan are scheduled to lock horns in the round-robin match of the World Cup on June 16 at Old Trafford, Manchester.
“When India and Pakistan play a match, it is nothing less than a war. We should win the war, not lose it,” Sehwag said while speaking to reporters during an event in Goa.
Tensions rose between the nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan after the Feb 14 suicide attack on India’s Central Reserve Police Force convoy in the Pulwama district of India-held Kashmir killing 40 security personnel besides injuring dozens. India accused Pakistan of the assault which was denied by Islamabad and the latter offered complete cooperation to probe the matter. Fuelling the tension, Indian Air Force jets violated Pakistan’s airspace on Feb 26. On Feb 27, Pakistan Air Force fighters shot down two Indian jets that again intruded Pakistan’s territory and captured a pilot alive who was later released as a peace gesture.
There have been demands, from Indian fans and a number of the country’s former cricketers, for the India team to boycott the World Cup match against Pakistan in reaction to the Pulwama attack.
Pakistan have never beaten India in a World Cup clash, losing six times to date.
“There are two points which are discussed, whether we should have a war with Pakistan or not [and whether we should play Pakistan]. There is another point that is discussed. We should do whatever is good for the country’s welfare,” Sehwag, 40, added.
The 10-team World Cup begins on May 30 with all teams scheduled to play nine round-robin matches against each before four teams qualify for the semi-finals. The final takes place at Lord’s on July 14.
Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2019