ICC: Not heard from India or Pakistan about World Cup match in Manchester

A BCCI source said while Harbhajan Singh has expressed his reservation about playing Pakistan in the league round of the ICC World Cup 2019, the veteran cricketer hasn't clarified what we ought to do if we had to play them at the semifinals or the final

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London: The International Cricket Council (ICC) and the World Cup-2015 Organising Committee still believe that the India-Pakistan match scheduled to be held on 16 June in Manchester will be held according to the schedule. However, the ICC has also said that it is keeping an eye on the India-Pakistan relations before the World Cup.

The ICC statement surfaces amid speculations that, in the aftermath of the Pulwama terrorist attack, India will boycott the match against Pakistan in World Cup-2019. Recently, former cricketer Harbhajan Singh had advocated a boycott of Pakistan in cricket.

ICC chief executive president David Richardson said during a programme organised in London to commemorate the start of the World Cup countdown, “There are no indications from the two boards that either will not play a game according to the schedule of the ICC Men’s World Cup. We have not written to the boards to date.”

In view of the terror attack, India’s former cricketer Harbhajan Singh said that India should not play against Pakistan in Manchester on 16 June.

Richardson said, “We sympathise with the people affected by this horrific event and we, along with our members, will keep an eye on the situation.”

“There is no indication that any match of the ICC Men’s World Cup will not be held in accordance with the schedule,” he said. “The game has an amazing potential to bring people closer and bring communities together, but we will work with the ICC members. ‘

At the same time, a senior BCCI official said, “Harbhajan has expressed his view, but did not say whether we should boycott Pakistan in case we had to play against them in the semi-finals or the final. We are talking of a hypothetical situation. ‘

He said, “India had played against Pakistan in 1999 World Cup at the peak of the Kargil War.”

Harbhajan had said that even if India were to lose the match against Pakistan in Manchester on 16 June, it would remain a strong contender to win the World Cup.

Harbhajan said, “These are tough times. The government will definitely take strong action,” adding, as far as cricket is concerned, “I do not think we should have any relationship with Pakistan.” The veteran cricketer said playing Pakistan legitimised their sponsorship of terror.