Shortly after unveiling the 14 players who will represent India at the upcoming Kabaddi World Cup, former India Test captain Kapil Dev launched a raid of his own after not taking kindly to a question from the media. The question posed was for the organisers of the tournament, asking for a reason for the absence of the Pakistan team. Instead, Dev shot back, “Agar aap Hindustani ho, to yeh prashan poochna he nahi chahiye. Aaj yeh prashan puchneka manch nahi hai.” (If you are a Hindustani, then this question should not be asked. This is not the forum to ask this question)
Pakistan’s name had been confirmed at the time the third edition of the tournament’s staging was announced two months back. Yet just a week ago, the final schedule found the subcontinent nation missing from the roster.
On the occasion, the national team’s head coach Balwan Singh, assistant coach K Bhaskaran, team captain Anup Kumar and Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) President Mridul Bhadauria were seated on the dais while Dev sat in the audience. Despite the question being directed towards the tournament officials, the 1983 World Cup winning skipper decided to answer. Rising from his chair, he turned to face and admonish the scribe. When clarified that the question is related to the World Cup itself and had nothing to do with the recent terrorist attack in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, Dev further pressed, “Aap ko yeh question poochna nahi chahiye.”
Subsequently, a further question, this time was directed at the 57-year-old, asking if India should continue playing against Pakistan in sports in light of the recent attacks. “Some things should be left to the government. We are sports-persons,” said Dev, who played 131 Tests and 225 ODI’s for the national team. “If the country asks us to play against someone, nobody will refuse. What the country wants, we will do. Agar desh chahega ke hum jaake kue main koodh jae, toh hum koodh jayenge,” he added.
Earlier, Dev handed out the official team jersey to each in the 14 member squad that will compete in the 12-team tournament in Ahmedabad next month. With the absence of the Pakistan team, Iran stands as the most definite threat for the hosts, who take on South Korea in their opening match.