The fall-out of the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed has hurt India and Pakistan cricketing relations. The Cricket Club of India (CCI) has covered the photo of Imran Khan, who is the former skipper and current Prime Minister of Pakistan while the photo of several Pakistan players has been removed from the Punjab Cricket Association and Rajasthan Cricket Association. Speaking about the incident, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has expressed ‘regret’ and said it will take up the issue with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in an International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting which will be later in the month.
“We have always believed and emphasised that sports and politics should be kept separate. History tells us that sports, particularly cricket, have always played a key role in building bridges between people and countries. Covering or removing portrait of former Pakistan cricket captain and Prime Minister Imran Khan and other legendary cricketers from one of the most historic cricket clubs and venues are highly regrettable actions,” PCB Managing Director Wasim Khan stated.
Apart from cricket associations, the coverage of the Pakistan Super League in India has also been affected. IMG Reliance has pulled out of covering the PSL games while D Sports has also suspended the coverage of the PSL games on Television in India. Apart from TV, digital platforms have also taken a stand with Cricbuzz, a popular digital platform not covering the games on their website.
There is a #UninstallCricbuzz which is trending on Twitter and there is plenty of outrage against the site from Pakistan. Many Pakistani users have downgraded the app and are uninstalling the app for their lack of coverage on the PSL. An Australian journalist by the name of Denis Freedman, who primarily covers cricket in Pakistan, has changed his name on his Twitter handle to #UninstallCricbuzz to show solidarity with Pakistan. Cricbuzz’s rival, ESPNCricinfo, has not boycotted the PSL and continues to give ball-by-ball coverage, match reports on its site.
Speaking about the incident, Wasim Khan said, “We have been informed by IMG Reliance that they will be unable to partner with us for the remaining PSL 2019 and PCB has reserved all its rights. The PCB always had a contingency plan in place.”
India will take on Pakistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup encounter in Old Trafford, Manchester on June 16.