Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Friday said India forfeiting a match against Pakistan at the Cricket World Cup would be worse than surrender. The Board of Control for Cricket in India is set to take a call on Friday whether India should play Pakistan at the tournament in the wake of the terror attack in Pulwama.
The BCCI’s Committee of Administrators has reportedly drafted a letter to International Cricket Council Chairman Shashank Manohar to exclude Pakistan from the World Cup, which starts on May 30 in England.
India and Pakistan are scheduled to play on June 16 in Manchester, but some current and former cricketers have called for severing sporting ties with Pakistan after 40 security personnel were killed in the terror attack on February 14. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack.
“Reminder: at the height of the 1999 Kargil War, India played Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup, [and] won,” Tharoor tweeted. “To forfeit the match this year would not just cost two points: it would be worse than surrender, since it would be defeat without a fight.”
Tharoor also criticised the government for not declaring national mourning after the attack, but wanting to cancel a cricket match in June. “Is that a serious response to 40 lives taken in cold blood?” Tharoor asked. “BJP wants [to] divert [attention] from its own fecklessness [and] inept handling of the crisis. We need effective action, not gesture politics.”
Cricketer Harbhajan Singh had called for India to boycott the World Cup match, saying India was strong enough to win the tournament without having to play Pakistan. Former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar said not playing Pakistan would hurt India and cost it two points, but said he would stand with India if it decided not to play.