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