Ever since the infamous Pulwama terror attack, former Indian cricketers and other sports officials have been talking about boycotting the Pakistan cricket team during the upcoming ICC World Cup 2019 to be held in England and Wales in June.
With Punjab Cricket Association removing the photos of iconic Pakistani cricketers from the Mohali stadium and now BCCI doing the same from the head office, the rage in the cricket fraternity is burning deep against our neighbours.
A couple of days ago, former Indian bowler Harbhajan Singh voiced his displeasure against Pakistan.
"Don't play the World Cup match with Pakistan on June 16 — country comes first for all of us and we are all standing with our forces,” said the cricketer. “Pakistan has been promoting cross-border terrorism and this attack was unbelievably shocking.”
On Wednesday, former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly echoed his ex-teammate's opinion when he basically said that Team India is strong enough to be a success at the World Cup even if they do not play against the match Sarfraz Ahmed and his men.
But amidst all the chaos there are all but four decisions that the Board of Cricket Control in India can choose to take and all of them are bound to cause multi-fold consequences:
Decision 1: Complete Boycott Of Pakistan During The World Cup
A complete boycott would involve forfeiting every game against Pakistan during the World Cup. In a relatively shorter tournament of the top 10 teams in the world, every side is going to play at least one game against the nine others during the points round.
Without a doubt, India is more than capable to making it to the semis even if they give up some points but what if the two teams meet in the knockout rounds or worse yet, in the final? Will BCCI be willing to up give the chance of winning the World Cup?
Decision 2: Forfeiting Just The Points Round Match
If India decides to boycott the Men in Green during the points round, they still have eight matches to cover up. Sure, the burden on Virat Kohli and team's shoulders would be a tad bit more than the others but it's nothing they can't handle.
Say, the Men in Blue do meet them in the semis of the final and decide to play them, then does that not defeat the whole purpose of the protest? Doesn't it feel like a facade, an act to show revolt against Pakistan?
Decision 3: Campaign To Ban Pakistan From The World Cup
According to a report by News 18, the Committee of Administration (CoA) has ordered BCCI to push the International Cricket Council (ICC) into banning the Pakistani cricket team from participating in the 2019 World Cup altogether. There is no denying the fact that India is the major revenue source for ICC and if BCCI puts them in a situation to choose between the two teams, the council is likely to tilt in favour of India.
However, if things were to go south and ICC rejects BCCI's 'Ban-Pakistan' campaign, not only will it play against the public image of the Board but it will also lead to people questioning India's ability to host the 2021 Champions Trophy and the 2023 World Cup.
Decision 4: Play Pakistan Regardless
This may turn out to be upsetting to a lot of us but this is the most likely decision BCCI is going to take. The attack has left a deep impact in the heart of every Indian citizen but all the hard work put in by Team India must be rewarded.
The revolt against terrorism is not disregarded but the World Cup is important too. It is easy for people to suggest the boycott but even if there is a slight chance of this measure leading to a sad end to India's world cup journey, BCCI will act against it.
In such times of distress the need for rational decision-making is of utmost importance. Loud noises and anger looks dramatic, sure, but what impacts would take leave on BCCI and the Indian cricket team in the long run must be taken into consideration. The ultimate authority lies in the hands of the Indian board.