‘It won’t matter even if we don’t participate in World Cup’: Harbhajan Singh on India-Pakistan match
India are scheduled to play arch-rivals Pakistan in the World Cup group stage match on June 16 in Manchester.Updated: Feb 21, 2019 13:20 IST
India cricketer Harbhajan Singh feels the country is above everything thing else and it won’t even matter if the ‘Men in Blue’ opt against participating in 2019 World Cup later this year. India are scheduled to play arch-rivals Pakistan in the group stage match on June 16 in Manchester.
However, the calls for India to boycott the match have intensified in the last few days in the aftermath of the deadly Pulwana attack that took lives of 40 CRPF jawans. Harbhajan stated that if India pull out of the tournament if won’t matter to the players as they are Indians first and then sportsmen.
“World Cup is very small when it comes to the country. 40 people who have lost their lives, who is going to pay for that? We have to stand united with the country. Even if we don’t play the 2019 World Cup, it won’t matter,” Harbhajan told India Today.
“We are Indians first and then we are players. We are what we are because of this country. People love us because we play for India.The armed forces sacrifice everything to protect us... it’s not right to keep playing sports with Pakistan when our soldiers are dying,” he added.
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Earlier, BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry confirmed to Hindustan Times that the Indian board was yet to sign the MPA and that gave the BCCI right to decide on whether it will play the arch-rivals in the World Cup.
“The BCCI had resolved at the Special General Meeting that the members’ participation agreement shall not be executed without the authorization of the general body of the BCCI and the BCCI reserves all its rights regarding the MPA and regarding its participation in any other multi-nation tournament or games not covered by the MPA. That answers your question,” he said.
Another board official told Hindustan Times that in the current circumstance, the BCCI can refuse to play Pakistan as the idea of conceding the match to Pakistan if India doesn’t play comes only after signing the MPA.
“The India board reserves all rights regarding the MPA and that has been the consistent position of the BCCI. Therefore, the BCCI cannot be forced to even play in the World Cup. There may be some provision where if we do not play them in a match, they get the points. But as of now, the BCCI as an organisation has not even given its authorisation of the signing of the MPA and therefore it is free to lay down its conditions regarding Pakistan,” he clarified.
First Published: Feb 21, 2019 10:19 IST