The call for India to boycott the match against Pakistan in the upcoming ICC World Cup seems to be snowballing into something big.
Those who demand it have their own reasons — which are political and have nothing to do with cricket.
The question is: should a political animosity between two neighbouring countries be dragged into a world sporting event and fans be denied the most awaited match of the World Cup?
If these two nations do not play each other, only cricket fans will be the losers.
Having reported India-Pakistan World Cup matches for over three decades, one can vouch for the fact that a World Cup without the clash between these two nations takes away the sheen from the event.
The CEO of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Rahul Johri, wrote to the ICC urging members to boycott Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack.
When the Indian government has not yet decided on whether India should play Pakistan or not, why should BCCI react in such a hurry?
The BCCI is the governing body of cricket and does not have a mandate to interfere in political matters.
Similarly, Pakistan has reacted sharply over Indian cricketers wearing a military cap during the Ranchi One-dayer and wants the ICC to take ‘action’ against them.
Every Indian has the right to wear a cap which he deems fit to wear, and this was done as a mark of respect to the members of the para military forces who lost their lives in the terror attack.
In India, there are many players who idolise the likes of a Wasim Akram while in Pakistan, there are many who hope to emulate Sachin Tendulkar or Virat Kohli.
There is no animosity in the mind of cricketers — as was evident when the two countries played each other twice in the UAE during the Asia Cup last year.
It is important for everyone to understand that people who call for a boycott of the India-Pakistan match are the ones who see the cricket field as a battlefield.
Very often, one hears comments that an India-Pakistan cricket match is a war between the two countries on a cricket field — which is far from the truth.
If the India-Pakistan match does not happen, it is a generation of cricketers who will be denied of playing a match in which everyone wants to give his best to produce one of the best cricket contests.
Whatever has happened politically between the two countries is beyond the control of cricketers and in no way are they responsible.
It’s time for both cricket boards to react in a mature manner keeping cricket as their priority.