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Government game, players not thrilled about Pak tour

cricket Updated: Apr 15, 2011 01:57 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The government of India may be trying to revive diplomacy with Pakistan via cricket. However, the men who matter the most on the field seem to be averse to touring Pakistan for a cricket series.

Yuvraj Singh, the World Cup’s player of the tournament, when asked about the decision, said: "I don’t know. It’s not my call. Whatever is decided, you have to go by it. My job is to play." He was speaking after the Pune-Kochi game on Wednesday night.

Not many India cricketers are willing to open up, even on condition of anonymity, but when some of the members of the World Cup-winning squad do, they come up with similar sentiments when it comes to playing with Pakistan.

"Why should we go there and play?" said an India cricketer. "It just doesn’t make any sense. Even if the tightest possible security is allotted, there is no need to play cricket in Pakistan at this moment."

"If they could not protect Benazir Bhutto and the Lankan team, what is the guarantee we’ll be safe?,” another asked.
A younger team-member said that with such high pressure, it would be "next to impossible" for a cricketer to concentrate on the game. "If politics is going to be played around cricket, then how can cricket remain just cricket?"

Even the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), for once, seems to be on the same page as the players.

Secretary N Srinivasan said he had read the government’s position “only in the newspapers” while a BCCI insider,
preferring anonymity, said the idea was "laughable". He said: “We are sure not many players would be willing to travel to Pakistan under the prevailing circumstances.”

The Indian government had indicated on Wednesday that it was open to re-establishing cricketing ties with Pakistan, following a similar statement by their prime minister.