Ever since the deadly Pulwama terror attack by JeM that took the lives of over 40 CRPF soldiers on Valentine's Day last month, the cricketing fraternity in India has had varying opinions about the Board of Cricket Control in India's (BCCI) decision to plea to the other member nations of the International Cricket Council or the ICC to “sever ties with the nation from which terrorism emanates”.
In other words, the BCCI wanted to boycott the Pakistan cricket team during the upcoming ICC World Cup 2019 in London and Wales as a means to show their protest against terrorism.
I'm boycotting today's #IndvAus ODI to protest the BCCI pestering the ICC to ban Pakistan from the World Cup— Dennis Universe Boss (@DennisCricket_) March 2, 2019
A number of cricketing legends such as Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh were openly advocating this move while there were others such as Sunil Gavaskar and Indian master blaster Sachin Tendulkar who instead thought that competing and beating Pakistan on the biggest platform of the game would be the most impactful response.
However, during the quarterly ICC meet in Dubai, when BCCI CEO Rahul Johri raised the issue to be discussed formally, ICC chairman Shashank Manohar refused to pay heed to the topic saying that the council did not enjoy the authority to 'isolate' Pakistan because it continues to be one of the permanent members of the Council.
Amid India-Pak World Cup clash uncertainty, BCCI to discuss ICC's stand on terrorism pic.twitter.com/Gex2n2PS0v— Mukesh Rajpoot (@MukeshR43127690) March 4, 2019
So, the most pertinent question here is, now what?.
The decision of forfeiting from the contest against Pakistan now rests completely in the hands of the BCCI. The two cricketing titans are scheduled to go head to head during the point round on 16th June 2019 and even if India decides to not show up for the match and Pakistan wins by default, it will have little to no harm on India's chances at qualifying for the knockout rounds.
However, the real issue arises if and when the two rivals meet again during the semis or worse yet, the World Cup final. Is India ready to give up on all those players who only want to lift the trophy and have been dreaming about this day ever since they were kids?
Alternatively, will they just look over the agenda and face them? The kind of heat the BCCI will face from those who share Ganguly and Singh's vision, will then be extremely difficult to deal with the Indian Cricket Board.
Yes, India has been wronged, time and again, as terrorism has been inflicted on our sovereign land and the perpetrators are all around us, but when politics get involved with sports, the outcome, more often than not, is ugly.