Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Rajeev Shukla has said there will be no cricketing ties between India and Pakistan on a bilateral level unless the state sponsored terrorism ends. His comments come in the aftermath of a terror attack in south Kashmir’s Pulwama in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed.
“Whatever is happening, (former Pakistan captain and current Prime Minister) Imran Khan’s portrait being removed or MFN status revoked is people’s outrage and the reaction is justified,” Shukla told TV channel Times Now.
Shukla then clarified that he wants to see cricket and politics not be mixed but Pakistan has to stop terrorism first before thinking of resuming cricketing ties with India.
“I’ve always said the sport is above politics but now it will hamper sporting ties too, not until Pakistan sponsored terrorism is stopped.”
With India scheduled to play Pakistan in the ICC World Cup, Shukla opted to play it safe on the chance of the 1983 and 2011 World Cup winners boycotting the contest. He said that the tournament is really far away to take a call right now. “Cannot say now whether we will play Pakistan in the World Cup as it’s too far but our policy and position is very clear, we will wait for the government’s decision,” he added.
Several fans and a Mumbai cricket official have asked India to boycott the World Cup game. “We condemn the terror activities carried out against our army and CRPF personnel,” Cricket Club of India (CCI) secretary Suresh Bafna told news agency ANI. “Though CCI is a sporting association but nation comes first, even before sports,” Bafna added, asking for a boycott which got the support of several fans on social media.
Following the attack, CCI, an affiliated BCCI unit, has covered a portrait of Imran Khan in its Mumbai office. Punjab Cricket Association has removed photographs of Pakistani cricketers inside Mohali stadium to “show solidarity with the nation.”
Event management company IMG-Reliance has pulled out of producing the on-going Pakistan Super League (PSL) and television channel D-Sport has suspended the league’s coverage in India.
India and Pakistan have not played a bilateral series since 2013 but they have faced each other in tournaments such as the 2017 Champions Trophy and 2018 Asia Cup, both at neutral venues. They are scheduled to play in Manchester on June 16.