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Sports, politics shouldn’t be mixed, India-Pak World T20 game should go ahead: Padukone

The match has become a point of contention after politicians from BJP and AAP called for the game to be cancelled in the wake of the recent killings of civilians by terrorists in Kashmir.

By: Express News Service |
Updated: October 20, 2021 3:03:56 pm
The BWF Council shortlisted the Indian legend based on the award commission's recommendation. Badminton Association of India (BAI) had submitted his name for this award. (File)

Badminton great Prakash Padukone said Sunday’s T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan should take place, despite the prevailing tensions between the two countries and the calls to cancel the game.

While insisting that he was ‘no authority’ and ‘nobody to comment’, Padukone said sports and politics should not be mixed. “I personally feel sports should not be mixed with politics and it should go ahead, that is my personal opinion, whether it happens or not, I am no authority, I am nobody to comment,” Padukone said. “But if you ask my personal opinion, I think the match should go ahead, they have played in the past, so many times, so this is no different.”

The match, scheduled to take place on October 24, has become a point of contention after politicians from BJP and AAP called for the game to be cancelled in the wake of the recent killings of civilians by terrorists in Kashmir. However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vice-president Rajeev Shukla said on Monday India will have to play Pakistan as no team can refuse to play another side in a tournament organised by International Cricket Council.

The legendary shuttler was speaking at the launch of a badminton coaching programme following a partnership between his sports management company and the National Sports Club of India (NSCI).

Padukone, meanwhile, acknowledged that the ‘standard was very low’ in Indian women’s badminton until Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu broke through. He further said it will be ‘impossible’ for the current generation of players to match the two Olympic medalists.

India vs Pakistan India and Pakistan will play each other on October 24 in T20 World Cup. (FILe)

While Saina, ranked 19th in the world, seems to be in the twilight of her long career, seventh-placed Sindhu is the only genuine contender in women’s singles. Other than Saina and Sindhu, there is no other Indian woman player in the top 50 of world rankings and only two feature in the top 100 – Ashmita Chaliha (83rd) and Mugdha Agrey (90th).

“There is a big gap (between Saina-Sindhu and the rest), that is a fact. I think the standard generally was very low but these two took it to a different level altogether. If they were not there, I think we would have been happy,” Padukone said. “But they have raised the bar so high that it is almost impossible…”

Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu Other than Saina and Sindhu, there is no other Indian woman player in the top 50 of world rankings. (EXPRESS FILE)

Padukone, said one of the main reasons behind Saina and Sindhu’s success has been their physical ability. “Both of them were very fit in terms of speed, fitness, strength and power, which none of the other girls have. Technically they are probably on par, whoever the current lot of players are (but) what they lack is the physical parameters in terms of speed, power and endurance,” he said.

Padukone added: “Physically, Indian girls are generally not strong, maybe because of diet or the way we are built. Sindhu luckily had good height.. so you have to pick at a very young age, I would pick someone who is strong, not technically so sound but very fast and very strong. then it’s easier to train them. but if you are technically strong, good strokes and all, but not good physically then you can take them only up to a certain extent because it’s become a physical game now.”

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