India Would Lose By Not Playing Pakistan In World Cup, Feels Sunil Gavaskar

Updated: 21 February 2019 15:01 IST

Sunil Gavaskar however reiterated that he would be with the country in whatever is decided.

India Would Lose By Not Playing Pakistan In World Cup, Feels Sunil Gavaskar
India play Pakistan on June 16 at the World Cup in Manchester. © AFP

Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar feels that India would stand to lose if they did not play Pakistan in the World Cup. Gavaskar felt that India can continue to "hurt them (Pakistan)" by shunning bilateral ties. Some senior players, including Harbhajan Singh, have called for a complete cricketing boycott of Pakistan after the terror attack in Pulwama last week killed more than 40 CRPF personnel. India are scheduled to play Pakistan in the World Cup on June 16.

"Who wins if India decide against playing Pakistan in the World Cup? And I am not even talking about the semis and the finals. Who wins? Pakistan win because they get two points," Gavaskar told ''India Today''.

"India have so far beaten Pakistan every time in a World Cup, so we are actually conceding two points when by beating Pakistan, we could make sure that they don't advance in the competition.

"(But) I am with the country, whatever the government decides, I am with it totally. If the country wants we shouldn't play Pakistan, I am with them," he added.

The bilateral cricketing ties between the two countries have already been suspended since 2012 and the teams last played a full series in 2007.

"Where does it hurt Pakistan? It hurts them when they don't play a bilateral series against India. In a multi-team event, India will lose by not playing them. The entire matter needs to be looked at with a little more depth, I can understand emotions are running high.

"But what happens when you don't play them? I know India are strong enough side to qualify even after conceding those two points but why not beat them and make sure they don't qualify," argued Gavaskar.

If the BCCI takes the matter to the ICC, as is being speculated, and seeks Pakistan's ouster from event starting May 30 in England, it is more likely to lose, he said.

"They can try but it will not happen. Because the other member countries have to accept that and I don't see that happening. I am not too sure an ICC conference is the right forum," he said referring to the February 27 to March 2 ICC meetings in Dubai.

"Sure all of us are absolutely down with what has happened, it is such a tragedy but I am not too sure this would work with the ICC. The other counties will say that this is an internal matter between the two countries and they have to deal with it and not involve us."

Gavaskar urged Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to take the necessary "first step" towards improving ties with India.

"Let me speak directly to Imran Khan, someone who I have admired so much, who I think is a friend. Let me say to Imran 'when you took over you said that it is going to be a new Pakistan'.

"You said that 'India should take the first step and Pakistan will take two steps' but not as a politician, as an average sportsperson, I want to say to you that Pakistan is the one which should take the first step," Gavaskar said.

(With PTI inputs)

Highlights
  • Gavaskar urged Imran Khan to take necessary step towards improving ties
  • India are scheduled to play Pakistan in the World Cup on June 16
  • India have beaten Pakistan every time in World Cup matches
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