Former India opener-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir expressed his thoughts on the resumption of India-Pakistan ties and said that the game doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things, but the lives of Indian soldiers do and opposed any cricket between India and Pakistan until Islamabad stops cross-border terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir.
India and Pakistan have not played any international cricket bilaterally since 2012-13, but have played one another in ICC and ACC events like the World Cup, T20 World Cup, and Asia Cup tournaments. However, Pakistan continuously sending terrorists into India despite claims of it cracking down on terrorism. In the last few weeks, terror attacks against civilians and security forces in the newly created union territory have increased too.
Someone Who Is Defending Us On Siachen Or Pakistan Border Are The Greatest Heroes Of Our Country- Gautam Gambhir
In an exclusive interview with IANS at his home in Delhi, the BJP MP from East Delhi, Gautam Gambhir said that “Ultimately, cricket does not matter. The lives of our soldiers do.”
“I haven’t done any favor to anyone by playing and winning for the country. But look at someone who is defending us on the Siachen or Pakistan border, risking his life for a small amount of money. They are the greatest heroes of our country,” he added.
He further opined on should India play cricket with Pakistan and not mix sports with politics, Gambhir was clear cut in his statement.
Till the time Pakistan stops cross-border terrorism, India- Pakistan should not play cricket: Gautam Gambhir
“I would have taken this stand with or without being in politics. I have always held similar views,” Said Gautam Gambhir, the only Indian and one of four international cricketers to have scored hundreds in five consecutive test matches.
He further went onto ridicule Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi, with whom he has had quite a few clashes on social media. Recalling how Afridi brought the issue of Kashmir during the India- Pakistan 2011 World Cup semifinals, Gambhir said that he would never appreciate the politicization of the game.
“Afridi’s statement during the 2011 semi-final match that he wanted to win the toss for Kashmiris (actually we won that semi-final). It was a ridiculous statement. We don’t talk about Pakistan’s issues, so why should talk about our issues? They can deal with their problems and we can handle our own issues.
But Afridi politicized the toss. No one appreciated that. So when we won the game I said that I wanted to dedicate it to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. My stand remains. I say things which I believe. I don’t say things to make headlines. That is not something that excites me,” Gambhir said very firmly.
Though his love for the military and the Indian Army uniform remains foremost, Gambhir has refused multiple offers to join the Territorial Army meant for civilians on an honorary basis and feels that no one should wear that uniform if one hasn’t earned it.