It is a no-brainer that India under no circumstances should ever play cricket match with Pakistan as long as big terror factories are operating in each and every part of Pakistan and as long as all the terror leaders like Hafiz Saeed who is chief of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, Syed Salaluddin who is chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, Masood Azhar who is chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad etc are not handed over to India immediately and dismantles completely its terror infrastructure spread all over Pakistan with the full blessings of Pakistani Army, ISI and puppet government installed by Army in Centre which right now is led by their Prime Minister Imran Khan who keeps speaking like a parrot what Pakistani Army tells him to speak! Under no circumstances should there be any dilution on this stand! This is the best tribute that we can pay to our soldiers by boycotting Pakistan and Pakistanis in every walk of life!
It is a matter of deep regret that Indian cricketers are not speaking in one voice on this so sensitive issue! How can we play cricket with a nation that is labeled by Maulana Mehmood Madani and Rajeev Chandrashekhar as “Aatankistan” which has ensured that more than one lakh soldiers are killed in last many decades by their proxy war by which terrorists are trained, armed to the teeth and indoctrinated to the hilt to hit India hardest where it hurts us the most? How can we overlook attack on innocent Amarnath pilgrims, attack on Akshardham temple where women and children were also not spared and killed after asking them to sing national anthem, attack on Parliament, attack on Red Fort?
Why are we more bothered about losing two points if we don’t play against Pakistan? Are two points more important or are our soldiers more important? What message will be sending to the families of slain soldiers if we keep interacting with Pakistan as if nothing has happened? Are we not further emboldening to further carry out more such dastardly attacks on us?
I am at a loss of words to explain my deepest regards for the likes of Harbhajan Singh, Maninder Singh, Saurav Ganguly among others who have barring a few exceptions all unitedly demanded that we should not play with Pakistan because by doing so we are doing nothing but mocking at the supreme sacrifice rendered by our brave soldiers for our great nation! Former Test off-spinner Harbhajan Singh who triggered this debate rightly and aptly said that, “Country comes first. India should not play against Pakistan. What is two points (which India would concede for forfeiting)? Pakistan is known to promote terrorism and the (Pulwama) attack was shocking. We can make up for the loss of two points. India has a very strong team. Not playing Pakistan would send a strong signal.” Kudos to him for supporting the national sentiments on this!
Let me be honest enough to admit that Sachin Tendulkar has been my most favourite cricketer since childhood days till he retired. But I don’t stand with him on this particular issue and the likes of him like Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev who are great cricketing legends and are endorsing Sachin’s stand but they cannot be above India! Nation comes first and everything else later! How can we keep sports above nation?
While vehemently batting for India to play Pakistan, Sachin said that, “India has always come up trumps against Pakistan in the World Cup. Time to beat them once again. Would personally hate to give them two points and help them in the tournament.” I always hold Sachin in highest esteem but on this I completely beg to differ with him! Sachin is talking about two points!
I am ready to give Pakistan hundred points but I will still not want India to play cricket with them because hundred points cannot be above my nation and above the people of my nation! National mood is deadly against Pakistan now especially after the dastardly Pulwama terror suicide bomber attack masterminded by Pakistani Army and ISI and Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad which has proudly acknowledged its role also in which we lost more than 40 CRPF soldiers and later lost two Major also, police officers also and soldiers also from Army and still shameless, spineless and soulless Imran Khan asks us senselessly and shamelessly to give him proof! How can we still even think of playing cricket with a terror sponsor and rogue country like Pakistan which is just not prepared at any cost to dismantle its terror training factories from its soil?
As it turned out, let me bring out here that Sachin then further clarified that, “Having said that, for me India always comes first, so whatever my country decides, I will back that decision with all my heart.” This statement of Sachin I truly welcome as sports can never be above nation! Finally the patriot inside Sachin’s heart has spoken and I am proud that I always considered him my hero!
What’s more, for former India captain Sourav Ganguly whom again I adore, the issue went beyond the World Cup. His stand is fully similar with mine! He rightly says that, “We should cut off all ties with Pakistan. Why just cricket? India should not play against Pakistan at all.” He also rightly supported the move to boycott the World Cup match!
Talking about whether he is in favour of resumption of India-Pakistan cricket ties, the former spinner Maninder Singh said, “No, no and a big, big no. I am very patriotic and I love my country; and if these things keep happening to our country, then, I am sorry, No [cricket].” He also rightly said that, “People talk about sports and politics, that both shouldn’t be mixed. But let me tell you, it is bullshit! I mean, people say that cricket will build the bridges between both the countries. General Pervez Musharraf used to say that and then he had that Kargil war. So, no. Unless and until the mindset changes, I don’t think it can happen or should happen.”
It is most heartening to learn that even the BCCI has formally asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) to severe ties with Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack that killed more than 40 CRPF personnel. India, however, needs a broad consensus in the cricketing world to isolate Pakistan. According to the ICC Constitution: “A member may have its membership terminated if the Board of Directors considers that the member’s breach of its obligations as a member is sufficiently serious to warrant termination.” I am sure that BCCI will leave no stone unturned to ensure that Pakistan is kicked out of ICC World Cup and even if it does not happen will not play with Pakistan under any circumstances!
It is most assuaging and heartening to read that former BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel very clearly and categorically said that, “How can you expect India to play Pakistan at the time we have lost so many of our brothers in these cowardly terrorist attack? I am of the firm view that India should not play Pakistan in the coming World Cup.” Absolutely right! There can be no denying it!
To be sure, Sanjay Patel also very rightly said that the decision-makers in the board should take into account the prevailing mood in the country. He added that the clout India has in world cricket allowed BCCI and the Committee of Administrators to take any step they deemed fit. He minced no words in saying it firmly that, “If we play World Cup, then it’s clear that game is bigger than the country’s image. For me, India is first and it’s not only me who has such a sentiment. Ask any Indian now, and they will be of the same view. Cricket will only take place if terrorism is stopped. I hope the current COA and BCCI takes note of it. There is always a limit to everything, and this time all limits have been crossed.” Who can deny or dispute this? Only they who don’t love India from their heart!
Going forward, Sanjay Patel also rightly referred to the recent decisions taken by Cricket Club of India, Punjab Cricket Association, IMG-Reliance and Dsport to prove that the prevailing sentiment in the country that people don’t want any relationship with Pakistan. The views of former IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla who earlier favoured cricket relations with Pakistan was also along similar lines. He said that sporting ties cannot prosper in the present environment. Without mincing any words, he said that, “I’ve always said that sport is above politics but now it will hamper sporting ties too, not until Pakistan-sponsored terrorism is stopped.” It is most refreshing to see that even the likes of Rajeev Shukla who earlier took a moderate stand of playing with Pakistan have now elected to not play till Pakistan-sponsored terrorism is stopped!
Just like talks and terror cannot go together similarly sports and terror cannot go together! India must put unrelenting pressure on Pakistan from all sides to make sure that it acts now seriously! Each and every Indian must stand with PM Modi led NDA government on this as this is the crying need of the hour also! Pakistan must be made to realize that it cannot any longer get away even after masterminding the worst kind of terror attacks against India and if sports ties with Pakistan are to be nuked, so be it! India must act decisively now!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.