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Not Playing Pakistan in World Cup Would be Worse Than Surrender, Says Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor also hit out at the BJP government for not declaring national mourning over the deaths of the 40 CRPF jawans in Pulwama, but wanting to cancel a match that is three months away.


Updated:February 22, 2019, 3:20 PM IST

New Delhi: Following reports of the BCCI taking up the issue of India not playing Pakistan in the upcoming cricket World Cup at its Friday meeting, Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor said the rivals had taken on each other even at the height of the Kargil War in 1999 with India winning the match.

To forfeit a match does not just cost two points as it is worse than surrender, a defeat without a fight, Tharoor wrote on Twitter.

India and Pakistan are scheduled to play on June 16 at Old Trafford, but several current and former cricketers and a section of politicians have called for a change in schedule following the death of 40 CRPF jawans in the Pulwama terror attack reportedly carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Tharoor also hit out at the government for not declaring national mourning over the deaths, but wanting to cancel a match that is three months away, adding the BJP regime was only trying to divert attention from its inefficient handling of the situation through “gesture politics”.

“The Committee of Administrators (CoA), which looks after the administration of the BCCI, will take up the matter of whether India should play Pakistan at ICC World Cup 2019,” a source said, adding that BCCI may write to the International Cricket Council (ICC), asking for Pakistan to be kept out of the tournament.

Many affiliated units of the BCCI have removed photos and portraits of Pakistani cricketers with one of the oldest units, the Cricket Club of India (CCI) covering a portrait of Pakistan PM Imran Khan, who is considered one of the greatest cricketers of all of times and had led his team to its lone World Cup win in 1992.

The cricket associations of Punjab and Rajasthan have also removed pictures of Pakistani players since the Pulwama attack on February 14.

The BCCI has said it would follow the government’s guidelines on bilateral cricket with Pakistan.

The ICC, on its part, said it did not foresee the World Cup schedule getting affected by the current turmoil.

Prominent voices that have called for a suspension of cricket ties are former caption Sourav Ganguly, senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and pacer Mohammed Shami.

However, the legendary Sunil Gavaskar has said India stood to lose by boycotting Pakistan in the upcoming mega event.

Gavaskar, who was part of India's first World Cup-winning team in 1983, told India Today, “If 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.”

Bilateral cricket between the two countries has not been held since 2012. However, the two nations have clashed regularly at global meets, the most recent of such face-offs being the Asia Cup games in the UAE last year.

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