Post the Pulwama terror attack that left at least 40 Indian soldiers dead, former and current Indian cricketers have come with their own set of views whether to play or not to play Pakistan in 2019 World Cup.
Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly has called for an end to all sporting ties with Pakistan across all sports. Sachin Tendulkar said he would hate forfeiting 2 points to Pakistan and would rather prefer India beating them in the World Cup. But both said they will abide by what the government and BCCI decide what’s best for the nation.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli said he was deeply saddened by the loss of the soldiers in the attack but would go what the nation decides regarding the Pakistan clash in World Cup.
BCCI has been mulling on the idea of ostracising Pakistan from international cricket and not just the World Cup. Even the Government of India is in sync with BCCI regarding this move.
ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar has said he will place BCCI’s request to ban Pakistan before the ICC board. He also said he will show all security measures for the World Cup to BCCI to satisfy them of any doubts regarding the arrangements.
But considering the current situation in India, the demand is a total boycott of Pakistan from all sporting ties.
But that’s an ICC’s prerogative. At the moment, the talks centre around India’s forfeiting their Pakistan clash in World Cup.
But will it be the right move to do? What are the possible scenarios for India if they choose to play or not to play Pakistan in the World Cup? Cricwizz takes a look at the possible scenarios.
Forfeiting 2 points can only benefit Pakistan in the World Cup
The format of the 10-nation 2019 World Cup is that every nation plays against each other once. And the top four teams make it to the semis.
Hence, a single point can make the difference to the last four qualifications. If two teams are at same points, then the winner of the league game between the two sides or the net run-rate will come into play to decide which team advances into the top four.
Hence, forfeiting 2 points to Pakistan may come to haunt India in the business end of the tournament and can help their arch-rivals. India would not like to give an inch to their arch-rivals in such troubled times, especially in a big tournament like the World Cup.
But if BCCI and GOI ask Team India to boycott Pakistan game, then there will be no choice. India will have to play with -2 in the bank when they start the tournament.
What happens if India, Pakistan qualify for top four?
There’s another theory that if both India and Pakistan make it to top 4 and play against each other in knockouts, will India chose to boycott the match again and give an easy passage to their arch-rivals in World Cup finals?
Or, what if India and Pakistan play the World Cup final, what will be India’s stance then if they had chosen to boycott the league match earlier?
If both the teams play in knockouts, then India would have to choose to play their arch-rivals even if they have boycotted the league match as giving up on World Cup title would not be correct thing to do after reaching the semis.
Hence, even if India choose to refuse to play Pakistan in the league phase, they will have to play the men in green in the last four. Therefore, boycotting Pak in league phase but playing them in knockouts does not go hand-in-hand and in sync with the earlier stance.
If India choose to play Pakistan in 2019 World Cup
India have never lost to Pakistan in the World Cup across all formats. In the 50-overs World Cup, they have beaten Pakistan 6 times out of 6. In World T20, India have beaten Pakistan 5 times out of 5. Overall, India have 11-0 record against Pakistan in World Cup across all formats.
Hence, India enjoy considerable dominance over Pakistan in World Cup across all formats. Hence, a win over Pakistan in the World Cup will be savoured for long. But in no way, will it reduce the pain caused by the terror attacks and loss of lives of the Indian soldiers?
If ICC decide to ban Pakistan
Pakistan are said to have sheltered terrorist haven and India are looking to garner support from other nations to boycott Pakistan across other sectors too, not just sports.
India have already removed Pakistan from Most Favoured Nations list. If BCCI is able to convince ICC to ban Pakistan from all international cricket ties and not only the World Cup, it will be a logistical nightmare for ICC to rearrange the World Cup schedule at such short notice.
And the ban can only happen if other boards give their approval. At the moment, India are looking to get England on their side in their move to ban Pakistan. England are the hosts for 2019 World Cup.
So, what can India do then?
India may choose to boycott Pakistan in the World Cup. Then, Virat Kohli and co. will have a tough job at hand to make sure the forfeiture does not come to haunt them later in the tournament when the race for top four heats up.
They have to make sure they win all matches by a big margin to remain on top of table so that they don’t depend on other match results or net run-rate to qualify for the World Cup semis.
If both Pak, India play against each other in last 4, it will be a tricky situation for BCCI then. But that’s another story.
And if India chose to play Pakistan in World Cup, India will have enough reasons to bat and bowl their arch-rivals out of the match and the World Cup.