Harbhajan Singh and Sunil Gavaskar have reiterated their views on the India-Pakistan game in the World Cup.
Indian cricket is divided into two halves regarding the World Cup game between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack. The attack, which was carried out by Pakistan-based militant group Jaishe-E-Mohammed, claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnels. Ever since the attack, there has been a widespread call to boycott Pakistan in the World Cup. Harbhajan Singh is one of the many who have supported the suggestion. However, Sunil Gavaskar is one of the few who feels India should play against Pakistan.
Recalling the World Cup match of 1999 when India played against Pakistan despite the Kargil war, Harbhajan said that India should not repeat the mistake again. He also made it clear that country is above everything including cricket and the World Cup.
“One mistake will not correct the other one. Since we played in 1999 does not mean we should go ahead and do it again. We need to stand with our government and our soldiers. This is the time to talk and have a discussion which is far, far bigger than the World Cup. World Cup is not everything. Our country comes first, our soldiers come first and our government comes first. Cricket is not our first priority, our priority is our nation,” Harbhajan Singh told India Today.
Gavaskar, however, feels that India should look to play Pakistan and beat them rather than boycotting the arch-rivals in the tournament.
“If India decide not to play Pakistan in the World Cup, who wins? Pakistan will get two points. We have beaten them every time in World Cups. We can play them and beat them and make sure they don’t reach the semi-finals. Not playing bilateral series vs Pakistan hurts them.
“I know India are strong enough to qualify by not playing Pakistan. Not playing bilaterally hurts them. But it’s a World Cup, it’s two points…,” Gavaskar said.
India and Pakistan are scheduled to take on each other in the World Cup on June 16 in Manchester. However, latest reports suggest that BCCI are planning to persuade ICC to not allow Pakistan in the event.