February 22, 2019
Shashi Tharoor says forfeiting a contest with Pakistan at the cricket World Cup this year would be “worse than surrender”.
Cricketer Harbhajan Singh has said India should not play its longtime rival in Manchester on June 16, after a terrorist attack that New Delhi blames on Islamabad killed 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir last week.
Meanwhile, the interim president of Indian cricket’s governing body BCCI has asked its chief executive to draft a letter to the International Cricket Council (ICC), asking that Pakistan be kept away from the World Cup. A crucial BCCI meeting is scheduled for today.
Shashi Tharoor, the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, pointed to India’s World Cup win against Pakistan at the height of the Kargil War, and warned that forfeiting would be “defeat without a fight”.
He accused the BJP of wanting to “divert attention from its own fecklessness and inept handling of the crisis”.
“I don’t think anyone in their right mind can claim that cancelling a match three months away is a proportionate response to the murder of 40 of our precious CRPF jawans,” Shashi Tharoor later told India Today TV.
“I think this is a complete diversion on the part of the authorities of the government.”
Pakistan and India have both won the World Cup, but India — a two-time champion — has never lost to its rival in the one-day format of the global tournament.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said not playing Pakistan would hurt India and cost it two points, but also that he completely backed whatever decision India would take.
Cricket has long been seen in India and Pakistan as a means to improve relations, but ties have plummeted after the bombing in Pulwama, which provoked widespread fury in India.
India has launched a diplomatic offensive to isolate Pakistan on the world stage and revoked its Most Favoured Nation status.
It has also killed the mastermind of the Pulwama attack and two other terrorists, and warned parents of Kashmiri terrorists to ask their children to surrender.