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Sourav Ganguly to Harbhajan to Azharuddin: Chorus to boycott India-Pakistan World Cup tie grows louder

From Harbhajan to Azharuddin: Who said, what as demand to boycott India-Pakistan World Cup tie grows

New Delhi, Feb 20: The clamour for calling off India-Pakistan encounter in the upcoming ICC World Cup 2019 is growing in the wake of the cowardly terror attack on CRPF jawans.

40 CRPF personnel were martyred in the ghastly terror attack on the convoy last week. As the infamous terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed took the responsibility of the attack, a section is demanding that India should stop playing cricket of any form with Pakistan to mark their protest.

India are scheduled to play Pakistan on June 16 at Old Trafford which is already being billed as the most sought-after encounter of the tournament. But many believe that there shouldn't be any play with the neighbouring country unless it stops aiding the terrorists on its soil.

The debate kicked-off when senior India cricketer Harbhajan Singh suggested Team India shouldn't play Pakistan in the World Cup. But many feel that boycotting a World Cup game isn't going to offer any solution. The BCCI has already stated that India isn't going to hold any bilateral series with Pakistan.

In case India don't play Pakistan then the neighbouring country will get the points of the match and if it is final (between India & Pakistan), the latter will win the World Cup without even playing. For the record, India played Pakistan in a World Cup game in England in 1999 edition when Kargil War was at its peak.

Here's who says what on the debate whether India should play Pakistan in the world cup or not.

Harbhajan Singh:

Harbhajan Singh:

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."

Sourav Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly Wednesday called for severing all sporting ties with Pakistan.

Ganguly echoed sentiments of his one-time teammate Harbhajan Singh, saying that not playing Pakistan in one group league tie in the upcoming World Cup will not affect India's chances.

"This is a 10-team World Cup and each team plays matches against every other team and I feel if India doesn't play a match in the World Cup, it won't be an issue," Ganguly told India TV.

"I feel it will be really difficult for ICC to go on with a World Cup without India. But, you also have to see if India has the power to stop ICC from doing such a thing. But, personally, I feel a strong message should be sent," Ganguly added.

Ganguly said India should cut off all ties with the neighbouring country. "And, whatever reactions came from the people of India...was right. There is no chance of a bilateral series with Pakistan after this incident. I agree that after this attack, India should not only stop playing cricket, hockey or football with Pakistan but should cut all ties with them," Ganguly said.

Azhar backs Harbhajan's claim

Azhar backs Harbhajan's claim

"If we are not playing Pakistan in bilateral series, we should not play them anywhere. I agree with Harbhajan, the World Cup cannot be bigger than the country," Azharuddin was quoted as saying by India Today.

BCCI:

BCCI:

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 the 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.

"The situation will get clearer after some time, a little closer to the World Cup. ICC has nothing to do with it. If the government at that point in time feels we shouldn't play, it's obvious that we won't play.

ICC:

ICC:

ICC chief Dave Richardson: Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this terrible incident and we will be monitoring the situation with our Members. There is no indication that any (of the) matches at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup will not go ahead as planned.

Chetan Chauhan:

Former India cricketer Chetan Chauhan and a present UP Government minister: Not participating in global tournaments is not easy as every tournament has its rules & many participating nations. If we pull out, we may have to face consequences, could be fined or banned, I think Government and BCCI will consider this.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad:

The people from the cricket board, government, and security establishment will decide on it. I have nothing to say but we should respect the sentiments of those who are against this.

Minhaz Merchant

This is what senior journalist and author Minhaz Merchant had to say on the burning issue.

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Story first published: Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 16:50 [IST]
Other articles published on Feb 20, 2019
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