Chennai: The BCCI might, in an unprecedented move, ask the ICC to ban Pakistan from the cricket World Cup in England in the summer. The issue will be discussed at the BCCI meeting on Friday.
There is some dispute over a draft letter to ICC having been prepared already by BCCI and which might have to be sent to Union ministries for clearance before being sent to the ICC. However, the BCCI may have no scope to ask for such exclusion, even on the ground that Pakistan is supporting terrorism in India while citing the latest Pulwama attack in which at least 49 CRPF jawans were killed.
It is unlikely that any demand for exclusion of a nation will have any force in the ICC but boycotts have been seen before in the World Cup, for instance in the India-Pakistan-Sri Lanka World Cup of 1996.
Australia and the West Indies forfeited matches in Sri Lanka, refusing to go to the island because of security and player safety considerations. Australia went on to qualify for the final against Sri Lanka in Lahore, which Sri Lanka won.
But the question many are asking about the call for India to boycott the Pakistan match in the preliminary league at Old Trafford is what happens if India and Pakistan qualify for the final through the league and semi-finals.
Team India can sacrifice two points by boycotting the league game and not invite any ICC sanction. Can it, however, even afford to contemplate forfeiting the final to Pakistan?
Meanwhile, many cricketers including Harbhajan Singh and Sourav Ganguly have been calling for a boycott of the Pakistan match. Sunil Gavaskar thinks differently. He told a TV channel, "Who wins if India decide against playing Pakistan in the World Cup? And I am not even talking about the semis and the finals. Who wins? Pakistan win because they get two points."
India has an all-win record against Pakistan in the 50-overs World Cup, beginning with the first ever meeting in Sydney in the World Cup in Australia-New Zealand in 1992 and including the 1999 match in Manchester played at the height of the Kargil War....