The Pulwama terror attack which resulted in the death of 40 CRPF jawans has angered India and the country’s sporting personalities. There are calls from many social media users and from various quarters that the Indian cricket team should boycott the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 game against Pakistan which will be played in Old Trafford, Manchester on June 16 over the incident. Vinod Rai, the head of the Committee of Administrators that is currently running the BCCI, has urged the sporting community to ostracise Pakistan for the country’s support to terrorism but stopped short of advocating a boycott for the India vs Pakistan World Cup clash.
“We would be shooting in the foot if we don't play Pakistan in the World Cup. Our aim should be to ostracise Pakistan as a cricketing nation. As I have said earlier, all cricketing nations should sever ties with them. They should be banned from all sporting activities just like it happened with South Africa,” Rai said in an interaction with PTI.
Rai pointed out that Pakistan should be isolated from the sporting community on the lines of how South Africa were isolated due to their policy of Apartheid. South Africa, who were a strong team in the period of the late 60s, did not play cricket with other countries from 1970 to 1991 but were reintegrated into the international fold in the 1992 World Cup when the country announced an end to Apartheid.
The BCCI expressed their concern in a letter submitted to the International Cricket Council (ICC) having adequate security in World Cup game against Pakistan on June 16 at Old Trafford, Manchester. The letter was written by BCCI CEO Rahul Johri to ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar, the council CEO David Richardson and the Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board Colin Graves and World Cup tournament director Steve Elworth while keeping CoA members in the loop.
In a letter accessed by News Nation, Johri mentioned that the BCCI is concerned for the safety of the players and the match officials in the match which has already seen about 400,000 ticket applications. The letter mentioned that the United Kingdom, the country which is hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup this time, has condemned the terror attacks in Pulwama which killed 40 CRPF jawans. Johri went one step further. Without naming Pakistan, he said ICC cricketing nations should sever ties with countries from where terrorism emanates.
Rai, however, said the decision to isolate Pakistan on the global sporting stage needs to be done at the political level. "The matter will be officially tabled at the ICC chief executives meet and Indian board will express its concern.
When asked whether a consensus can be built in order to isolate Pakistan in the sporting world, the veteran bureaucrat said that it is done at the political level. "It is done at the government level where you talk to other nations in order to build consensus," he said. Opinions have been divided on the calls for boycott with former India captain Sourav Ganguly and senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh wanting the June 16 match to be called off.