No wrong in forfeiting Pakistan game, says Gambhir

Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir says the media and the country should back Team India if it loses two points and a semifinal berth in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir is of the opinion that the BCCI should either cut all cricketing ties with Pakistan or engage with them at every level.   -  FILE PHOTO/AP

 

Reiterating his stand on India’s total boycott of Pakistan, Gautam Gambhir has maintained, “There can’t be conditional bans.”

Speaking on the sidelines of an event here on Monday, the retired opening batsman said, “Either you don’t play them anywhere or open doors for them. What happened in Pulwama is absolutely not acceptable. I am sure it’s going to be difficult to boycott Pakistan in World Cup but they are not playing in bilaterals. The best they can do is to stop playing in Asia Cup as well, that’s what I believe.”

He underlined the fact that it was for the BCCI to decide whether to play Pakistan in World Cup, and continued, “All of us need to decide if sports is more important or lives. If India has to face backlash of international sporting federations, I am all for it. Country is far more important than Bollywood, sports, art or culture if we have to face that. They should be absolutely ready to do that.”

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He recalled how England decided not to travel to Zimbabwe in the 2003 World Cup and “gave those two points away” and added, “if BCCI decides India should not play Pakistan, there could be repercussions as well. No media should blame India for not qualifying to the semifinals. The entire media and country should back the team as well.

“In my view, there is nothing wrong in forfeiting the game and losing two points. The lives of 44 soldiers who lost their lives are far more important. My point is if India decides to forfeit then the entire country should back the team. If India was to play Pakistan in the World Cup final, even if you have to let go of that final, they should be ready for it.”

He also underplayed the talk about his joining active politics and said, “There are lot of rumours on that front but I haven’t thought about joining as yet because it is a completely different field. I just got Padma Shri two days ago. I will be doing commentary for IPL. I have got a young family and I really want to spend time with them.”