The calls to boycott the game Pakistan in the upcoming World Cup is gathering steam with every passing moment. While the Indian public has been hell bent to see the BCCI take the decision and boycott Pakistan, several big names from the cricketing fraternity has also joined in. The likes of Harbhajan Singh, former BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel as well as IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla in favour of boycotting Pakistan, the matter has taken a serious form.
The latest development comes in the wake of the ghastly Pulwama attack. Over 40 Indian paramilitary troops were martyred in the attack when a suicide bomber from the Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus in Pulwama district on Thursday.
The cricketing fraternity is doing all it can to protest the attack. On Sunday, IMG-Reliance pulled out of its deal to produce television coverage of the ongoing Pakistan Super League worldwide. Before that, DSport, which was broadcasting the game in India, had also stopped the coverage. In other show of protests, Cricket Club of India had covered the portrait of former Pakistan skipper Imran Khan in its restaurant. On Sunday, the PCA stadium in Mohali had removed the pictures of the Pakistani players.
And there are now calls to boycott Pakistan in the World Cup. With tension in the country running high, there is a big chance that BCCI might decide against playing Pakistan. So in case it happens, we take a look at the likely consequence for Team India in the showpiece event.
Forfeiting a match, according to the tournament guidelines, account to a defeat, unless it’s a mutual agreement in which case the teams share the point. The game of cricket, nonetheless, is not new to seeing teams forfeiting a game or refusing to play for safety and political reasons. In the 1996 World Cup, Australia and West refused to play in Sri Lanka citing safety issues due to the Sri Lankan civil war. Consequently, Sri Lanka had received full points.
In 2003, England refused to travel to Zimbabwe when the African country was under Robert Mugabe’s reign. New Zealand didn’t travel to Kenya, where a terrorist outfit had issued bomb threats. Both teams conceded points to their opponents. However, if the India-Pakistan match is forfeited, it would be the first such instance on a neutral venue.
Not only the teams would lose points but the broadcasters and the host associations will miss out on revenue too. India-Pakistan games are one of the most watched sporting events in the world. In 2017, when the two teams met in the Champions Trophy group stage, then broadcasters Star India claimed they lost nearly Rs 10 crore after the match was reduced to 48-over a side. In 2015, the match in the World Cup had reportedly generated 288 million viewers and an ad revenue of Rs 110 crore.