CHENNAI: Reserving any decision on playing Pakistan at the upcoming World Cup for later, Committee of Administrators (CoA) has written to ICC, urging its member nations to “sever ties with countries from which terrorism emanates”. The letter — addressed to ICC president Shashank Manohar, chief executive David Richardson and Colin Graves of England and Wales Cricket Board, among others — saw BCCI CEO Rahul Johri expressing concern over the safety of India players and fans.
On the insistence of CoA chief Vinod Rai, BCCI had prepared a note asking ICC to bar Pakistan from featuring in World Cup. But a meeting on Friday put an end to such efforts.The meeting in New Delhi saw BCCI and CoA consult the legal team on the feasibility of its plan to ask ICC to stop Pakistan from taking part in the event. It is learnt that the legal team apprised them of the consequences of writing such a note, which it said would only come back to bite India.
To start with, being an ICC member, it is Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) constitutional right to participate in World Cup. Even if BCCI proposes a vote to decide the issue, it has to get support from other members; an avenue that is very unlikely. That apart, such a note could also have repercussions on India’s plans to host the 2021 World T20 and the 2023 World Cup.
The letter sent to ICC did mention that “most countries from which the members of ICC hail have strongly condemned this terrorist attack and expressed solidarity with India”. But in reality, any push for barring Pakistan could have ended up as a major embarrassment for BCCI at the ICC meeting next week.
Then there’s the other big reason. So far, BCCI hasn’t received any directive from Union Sports Ministry or Ministry of External Affairs regarding India’s World Cup tie against Pakistan. Without one, BCCI won’t have been able to present a strong case. Moreover, ICC has never interfered in any geopolitical issues between member nations. “June 16 is very far away. We will take a call on that (playing Pakistan) much later and in consultation with the government,” Rai told reporters.
It is also learnt that even with regards to forfeiting the group-stage match against Pakistan, they have not rushed into any decision, preferring a wait-and-watch approach instead. “As of now, even for the case of forfeiting the tie and walking away with one point (shared) is very remote, considering that the diplomatic relationship between both countries is still intact,” an official present at the meeting told this newspaper.
“ICC takes all these factors into consideration. So if India doesn’t want to play Pakistan, then it means it will lose all points. Only if Pakistan demands such a move will both teams get a point each.” Rai also announced that this IPL will not have any opening ceremony, and the budget for that will be used as contributions for the families of the jawans killed in Pulwama.