The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) decision to not play Pakistan in any bilateral tournament has cost the Indian women’s team a chance to directly qualify for the 2017 ICC World Cup which will be played in England.
BCCI’s move has not gone down well with the former India skipper Diana Edulji. “This is quite ridiculous. When the Indian hockey team can play Pakistan then why is cricket being stopped?” she asked.
“The irony is that the Indian women’s team, who will leave tomorrow for Thailand, is set to play Pakistan in the Asia Cup. I can understand that there cannot be any bilateral series considering the Indian government’s policy with cross border tension, but this was not a bilateral series. It was an ICC championship. The BCCI could have agreed to play at a neutral venue. It is a real shame. Sports and politics should not be mixed,” Edulji told Hindustan Times.
The Indian women’s team have been docked all their six points for skipping all their three matches against Pakistan in the ICC women’s championship competition.
Only top four teams automatically qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup. India, ranked fifth, will now have to qualify through Women’s World Cup Qualifiers to be played in Sri Lanka from February 7-21 where top four placed teams will make the cup for the World Cup.
“If something goes wrong in the qualifying stage, it will be a big blow to the Indian women’s cricket,” said Edulji.
The International Cricket Council’s Technical Committee on Wednesday decided to award two points for each of the three games to Pakistan for “forfeiting” their matches which were to be played between August 1 and October 31.
The Technical Committee in its press release said they were sensitive to the “current state of relations between the nations of India and Pakistan”, but rejected BCCI’s stance for being unable to establish ‘acceptable reasons’ for not participating in the series.
ICC’s latest attack on the Indian cricket board has left BCCI furious. “ICC is well aware that in prevailing situation where Indian soldiers are being martyred, the sentiment is dead against playing Pakistan. The chairman is well aware that we need government permission,” a senior BCCI official was quoted as saying by PTI.
“This is a move with ulterior motive trying to play into the hands of Pakistan. They would say if women can play so can men. But that won’t happen. If ICC does not backtrack, the men’s team in solidarity with our women’s team won’t play in Champions Trophy,” the official said.