India and Pakistan will continue to play international cricket tournaments even if there are no bilateral ties. This is confirmed by the BJP chief Amit Shah. This is a big news for the sports market as the ICC Champions Trophy final is set to break all commercial records for any cricket match.
The BJP chief appeared unhappy when asked about the final in Birmingham tomorrow. He instead threw a question back to the Press: “Should India stop playing at international cricket tournaments now?”. He further clarified that India will continue to play Pakistan at international tournaments even as India will neither play in Pakistan, nor allow Pakistan team to play in India.
Last month, Sports Minister Vijay Goel had stressed that a cricket series between the two countries was not feasible until cross-border terrorism stops.
India has not played any bilateral cricket with Pakistan since 2007, although in the winter of 2012-13, Pakistan made a short goodwill tour to India that included three One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals.
The minister’s comments were in response to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary saying that India was not averse to playing a bilateral cricket series against Pakistan. Goel had stressed that the BCCI must talk to the Indian government before proceeding with any proposal for such a series.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had sent a legal notice to BCCI claiming US dollars 60 million (Rs 387 crore approx) in damages. It had accused the Indian board of not honouring an agreement to play five cycles of bilateral series between 2015-2023.
In such a scenario BJP chief’s remarks must have given the die-hard Indo-Pak cricket fans and sports market some relief.
Stressed ties between the neighbouring nations also raise tensions whenever two teams meet each other. The Indo-Pak matches nowadays have been confined only to ICC or ACC events.
Defending champions India have started their Champions Trophy campaign with a win over the arch rivals. Captain Virat Kohli says nothing extra is needed to get the same result even as tournament’s lowest rank opponents had made it to the final with big upsets.