BCCI president Anurag Thakur will make an unprecedented request to the ICC asking them not to place India and Pakistan in the same group at the Champions Trophy in seven months’ time, so as to avoid the two teams from clashing. Though bilateral series have stopped since 2012, the two teams have routinely played each other in multi-nation tournaments like World Cups.
But with bilateral political relations deteriorating and government trying to isolate Pakistan, BCCI today decided that India will avoid playing Pakistan even in multi-nation tournaments when taking their request to ICC. The issue was discussed on the sidelines of the Special General Meeting here against the backdrop of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of Uri terror attack and the subsequent cross-LoC “surgical strikes” carried out by the Indian army. Anurag Thakur is an MP of the ruling BJP and said it was “in view of the public sentiment in the country.”
“I will be suggesting to the ICC that looking at the current situation between both countries it is not advisable to have India and Pakistan in one group of Champions Trophy as there could be situation like we had in India during India vs Pakistan T20 World game in Dharamshala where we had to shift the game at the last moment,” he said.
He added, “There could be security issues. So in order the organisers don’t face problems which we did during T20 World Cup, I will be suggesting to the ICC in our next meeting in October in South Africa that it will be better if we don’t have two teams in the same group.”
Many members of the BCCI had told Thakur this, he said, on the sidelines of the board’s meeting adding, “The matter is of concern. We felt that it will be better if we inform ICC nine months in advance so that ICC should not face any kind of problem in future. I will be writing a letter also to ICC on this soon.”
The ICC reacting to media reports said they had not received any request from BCCI in this regard and if any request comes in the future then the ICC board will decide on it, a spokesperson said.If the two countries reach the semi-finals and have to clash at that time, it is another situation which can’t be avoided, Thakur added. Given the high interest and commercial value of the clash between the traditional rivals, the ICC generally puts the two teams in the same group in multi-nation tournaments to attract more spectators.
India’s not been playing bilateral tournaments for a while and after the Uri attacks, the situation has worsened.
Ajmal, Afridi for cricket ties
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