The Pulwama terror attack fall-out has seen a massive backlash from India against Pakistan and cricket has been a major target. Cricket Associations in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab have pulled down the portraits of Pakistan players from their galleries while D-Sports and IMG-Reliance have pulled out of covering the Pakistan Super League. A leading cricket digital website, Cricbuzz, is also not covering the Pakistan Super League on their website. Talking to a Pakistan journalist, former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi blasted IMG-Reliance’s pull-out from covering the Pakistan Super League.
“You find out who your friends are at difficult times. What are they trying to show the world that they are educated? Educated people don't behave in such a manner,” Afridi said. The 38-year-old, who is currently playing for Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League, also backed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement on the Pulwama attack which resulted in the death of 40 CRPF jawans. “Without any proof, they are putting all the blame onto Pakistan straight away. PM Imran Khan has once again spoken on this matter in a positive & clear way to explain that Pakistan wants to have good relations with not only India, but also Afghanistan, Iran & China,” Afridi added.
Afridi has played in three games in the current edition of the Pakistan Super League and has managed just 30 runs and taken three wickets.
Following the Pulwama attack, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said India needed to show proof that the country was behind the incident. “What will Pakistan gain from such terror attacks, when we are moving towards stability. In case India wants, we are ready to join any kind of investigation in Pulwama terror attack. If India wants any kind of war, we will have to retaliate, but that will worsen things, says Khan. This is happening because elections are approaching in India. Pakistan is the worst victim of terrorism, says Khan. If military power didn't work till date in Kashmir, how will it work in future," Imran Khan said.
Following the attack, there are increased calls from many quarters for the Indian cricket team to boycott the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 clash against Pakistan which will be played in Manchester on June 16. Sources within The Board of Control for Cricket in India have stated that, “If the government at that point in time feels we shouldn't play, it's obvious that we won't play.” However, the BCCI is trying in their own capacity to respect the sentiments of a vast portion of the Indian public who are calling for a boycott.
Cricketers like Harbhajan Singh, Sourav Ganguly and Yuzvendra Chahal have called for tough action to be taken while the BCCI is thinking about writing a letter to the ICC to ban Pakistan from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.