Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said that his team’s match against India should be played as per schedule and that cricket should not be targeted for “political gains.” “The India and Pakistan match should be played as per schedule as there are millions of people who want to watch this game. I just don’t think cricket should be targeted for political gains,” Sarfaraz told Cricket Pakistan.
“It is disappointing to see cricket being targeted after the Pulwama incident. I don’t recall Pakistan ever mixing sports with politics,” he said. “Sports should just be taken as sports.”
India are supposed to face Pakistan in a group stage match at the upcoming World Cup on June 16 in what is regarded as the most anticipated game of the tournament. However the fate of that match is under a cloud after a terror attack in Pulwama that killed more than 40 CRPF jawans.
It led to many former cricketers, including the likes of Harbhajan Singh and Sourav Ganguly, to call for a boycott of the match and all sporting ties with Pakistan. On the other hand, batting greats Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar said that India should instead play the match and ensure Pakistan do not progress any further in the World Cup by beating them.
The Committee of Administrators (CoA) running Indian cricket also decided against taking any stand on the World Cup clash against Pakistan, but urged the ICC and other nations to “sever ties” with countries from where “terrorism emanates”.
Former Pakistan captain and batting great Javed Miandad too was of the view that the game shouldn’t be targeted.
“I felt bad after hearing about our pictures being removed from their (Indian) stadiums. Now this talk of boycotting the World Cup. I think India need to understand they can face consequences of such an action,” Miandad said.
“I don’t understand the mindset. Do they really think they (India) can get away without playing the World Cup match?” he asked.
He said India need to change its policy of mixing sports with politics. “I just hope better sense prevails.”
(With PTI inputs)