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As the ICC World Cup 2019 edges near, the question that has been intriguing one and all is whether India would boycott Pakistan in the mega-event. Both the arch-rivals are set to lock horns against each other in the marquee clash on June 16 in Manchester. However, there are big question marks over the game in the wake of the Pulwama attack. The attack, which was carried out by Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, had claimed the lives of 44 CRPF personnels.
Since that took, there has been an anti-Pakistan sentiment in the entire nation and cricketing fraternity has not remained far behind. The BCCI had already made a formal request to the ICC to ask its members to “sever ties with nations” that harbour terrorists. Before that, IMG-Reliance had pulled out of its deal to produce television coverage of the Pakistan Super League worldwide while DSport, which was broadcasting the game in India, had also stopped the coverage. In other show of protests, several cricketing bodies had removed the pictures of Pakistani players from their premises.
The question that is now doing the rounds is whether India would boycott their neighbours in the tournament. The bilateral relation between the two nations is already suspended. Both the teams had last played a bilateral series in 2012-13 season when Pakistan visited India for just ODIs and T20Is. After that, both the countries have only played in ICC tournaments or the Asia Cup.
However, there are now calls to get rid of the conditional ban and boycott Pakistan completely. However, it seems unlikely at least in the upcoming World Cup. ICC chief Dave Richardson has revealed that both India and Pakistan, like all teams, have signed up mutual participation agreement and will have to oblige to it.
“For ICC events, all teams have signed a members’ participation agreement which requires them to participate in all the matches of the tournament and (in case of) any unjustified non-compliance with that provision, the playing conditions will kick in and the points will be awarded accordingly (to the other team),” Richardson said.
The World Cup, meanwhile, will get underway on May 30 with hosts England taking on South Africa in the opener. India will open their campaign against South Africa on June 5.