Five days after he talked about the need for India to play cricket with Pakistan, Anurag Thakur, BCCI secretary and BJP MP, has taken a U-turn. “We cannot play cricket with Pakistan when people are dying on the border,” Thakur said on Wednesday.
“We want peace with neighbours. Even the prime minister Modi wants that. But Pakistan have to be serious on terror, “ Thakur told NDTV. This is in direct contrast to what Thakur said in an Idea Exchange with The Indian Express on December 3 in Delhi.
“We play Pakistan in the World Cup. We played them in the 2015 World Cup, we’ll play them next year in the Asia Cup. Then we’ll again play them in the month of March in World T20. So when you play them in a multinational tournament in world events, then what stops you from playing them in a bilateral series. So that’s the question we have to answer,” he had said then.
Watch video: Anurag Thakur On Playing With Pak, Conflict Of Interest And Pitch Controversy
What has changed in five days now?
The volte-face has come on the wake of reports from Pakistan where PCB Chairman Shahryar Khan has blamed India for dithering on the series. “We wanted to play, but India did not respond positively. It is already too late to organise the series and we don’t have time for the series anyway,” he said referring to the proposed series in Sri Lanka where the teams were expected to play three ODIs and T20 Internationals.
Thakur has continued to flip-flop on the issue for a while now. In August, this year, he had tweeted that playing Pakistan was out of question. “Dawood in Karachi. NSA wants to meet separatists here. Are you really serious about peace and you expect we’ll play cricket with you?” he had tweeted.
That tweet had come on a day when the Pakistan National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz was in India to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval. The talks were cancelled over the Pakistan NSA’s invite to Kashmiri separatist leaders.
During the chat with The Indian Express on Sunday, he had said the final call was up to the ministry of external affairs and said there was no lack of communication or coordination between the BCCI and MEA.
“There was a contract where we had agreed to play with Pakistan. It was signed on April 9, 2014. As per our contractual obligations with the PCB, they have taken a call and we have written to the government. Now it’s up to the MEA to take the final call.”
Meanwhile, back in Pakistan, the PCB chairman Shahryar Khan said the Islamabad visit of Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj did not help in revival of the series. “We were hopeful that Sushma Swaraj’s visit will make things better, but it did not happen,” he was quoted as saying by Waqt News.
The PCB said that they are mulling legal options if the series is indeed cancelled.