Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has called on the Indian public to support the Indian cricket team if the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decides to forfeit the game against Pakistan in the 2019 World Cup.
Aftermath Of Terrorist Attack
The call comes in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack on February 14 which claimed the lives of 44 Indian soldiers. A Pakistani extremist group claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing attack. While Pakistan denied any connection to the group, India has claimed they have “incontrovertible evidence” that Pakistan has a “direct hand” in the incident.
India has since withdrawn their ambassador to Pakistan and the stained relationship between the two countries has extended into the sporting world. Cricket is considered the biggest religion in India and Pakistani fans are also very passionate about the game. Historically world-cup clashes between the two countries have been a star studded attraction but this could change for the 2019 World Cup.
Sports or lives: What is More Important?
There have been calls from different sections of the Indian public, media and sports fraternity for India to boycott their world cup match against Pakistan. The BCCI will have to make the decision shortly as the World Cup commences in a couple of months in England. India is scheduled to face Pakistan in June 16 in their group game.
Gautam Gambhir who has been a vocal supporter of the Indian army has asked the BCCI to take a strong stance on the matter. He has also called on the Indian public to be prepared to lose 2 points if India forfeits the game and not get emotional or upset at the BCCI or Indian players.
After the stern reminder that the Pulwama attack is unacceptable, Gambhir made it clear that the country has to chooses whether sports is more important or the lives of Indian soldiers is more important.
England As An Example
Gambhir pointed out that the English cricket team decided not to travel to Zimbabwe to play a match during the 2003 World Cup. They ended up losing two points in protest of the atrocities being carried out by the Robert Mugabe government. It cost them two points but they stuck to their beliefs.
Gambhir has been a part of the World Cup wining squad and knows the importance of the World Cup. However, he remains strong in his stance and says that even if India and Pakistan make it to the final, India should be prepared to lose the World Cup to stick to their beliefs and so should cricket fans in India.