Nothing wrong with forfeiting World Cup match against Pakistan: Gautam Gambhir

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Gautam Gambhir said there was nothing wrong if India decided to forfeit the World Cup match against Pakistan. He pointed out that the country and the Pulwama martyrs are more important than 2 points in the World Cup.

Gautam Gambhir said the entire country has to back the Indian cricket team if they are to forfeit match against Pakistan in the World Cup

Gautam Gambhir said the entire country has to back the Indian cricket team if they are to forfeit match against Pakistan in the World Cup. (@GautamGambhir Photo)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gautam Gambhir said whatever happened in Pulwama was not acceptable
  • Gambhir stated that he personally feels India should not play Pakistan in the World Cup
  • Gambhir said the whole country has to support the Indian team if they forfeit match to Pakistan

Former India skipper Gautam Gambhir feels that there is nothing wrong in forfeiting the 2019 ICC World Cup match against Pakistan provided the whole country backs the decision and players do not face any backlash. “My personal view is that there is nothing wrong in forfeiting the World Cup match against Pakistan. Two points are not that important at all. Ultimately, it is the country which is important and those soldiers who lost their life in Pulwama.

“I have always maintained that there can’t be any conditional bans. Either you have to ban Pakistan completely or got to open everything with them. Whatever happened in Pulwama is absolutely not acceptable,” Gambhir said in Delhi on Monday.

Gambhir, who received Padma Shri award from President Ram Nath Kovind two days ago, however feels that the entire nation needs to back the Indian cricket team if they decide to forfeit the match against Pakistan and let go of two points.

“If BCCI decides India should not play Pakistan then they should be mentally ready. Not just them, the entire country should be mentally ready to give those two points to Pakistan. There could be repercussions as well. Then no media or fan should blame the Indian team if they lose two points and do not qualify for the semi-final. The entire country should then back the Indian cricket team. The entire country needs to be on the same page as it is not a small event but a World Cup.

“You should then be ready to face any eventuality, if they fail to reach the semi-final or have to play Pakistan in the final. If you let go of that World Cup final then the country should be ready for it. There should not be any backlash. Certain sections of the society then start saying that you should not mix sports with politics. For me though, jawans are far more important than two points.”

Not denying strong rumours of joining politics completely, Gambhir said one thing which the BCCI should do immediately is to stop playing Asia Cup cricket tournament.

“I am sure it will be difficult for India to boycott ICC tournaments, they are already not playing bilateral cricket with them. The maximum they can do is to stop playing Asia Cup. That is what I believe in because that is not something which is not a commitment. England once decided not to go to Zimbabwe and forfeited points even in the World Cup. In other sports too, if India has to face a backlash from international sporting federations for not playing Pakistan, then they should be absolutely prepared for it. The sentiment of this country is far more important than sports, Bollywood, art or culture. If we get boycotted in certain events, we should be absolutely ready for it,” Gambhir said.

Gambhir said he would have taken the same stand when playing international cricket. “I would have said the same thing had I been an active player. It is my personal decision, others might differ. To me sentiments are always important than sporting events.”

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