Indian cricket fans, angered by an attack on Indian forces in Kashmir, have urged India to boycott a World Cup match against Pakistan this summer.
The Cricket Club of India (CCI), among the country’s oldest clubs, and India star also joined calls for the national team to stay away from the June 16 match in Britain, as Indians accused Pakistan of not doing enough to stop militants from operating on its soil.
India vs Pakistan is a high-profile World Cup match at Manchester on June 16. It promises to be the mother of all battles within the war to win cricket’s ultimate glory.
With the World Cup starting in exactly 100 days, there have been scattered voices that want India to boycott the group match against Pakistan but ICC on Tuesday has given a shut up call to all those.
Amid calls for boycott, the clamour for tickets for the marquee one-day international World Cup clash between India and Pakistan in Manchester on June 16 has reached a crescendo with more than ‘400,000 applicants’ for the 25,000 seater Old Trafford stadium in Manchester.
ICC World Cup tournament director Steve Elworthy, during a promotional event in London, said that demand for tickets for the India-Pakistan group league clash is way more than Australia vs England game or the final at the Lord’s.
“For that particular game [India vs Pakistan], we had over 400,000 applications for tickets, which is an incredible number. The stadium [Old Trafford] only holds 25,000 people,” Elworthy was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo. “So there are a number of disappointed people. That’s just locally, but (there is also) the audience globally.”
The former South African pacer then provided the numbers which is an indicative that how much the match means for world cricket’s governing body.
“To put that [number] in perspective, England vs Australia was around 230,000-240,000. And the final was around about 260-270,000 applications for tickets. So that gives you a bit of perspective for the demand for this match [India v Pakistan]. It’s a big game. They could end up playing each other in the final [too], you never know.”
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson, in a statement on Tuesday, said that there was no indication that any of the matches at the World Cup will not go ahead as planned.
Earlier, In the wake of the Pulwama terror attack last week, veteran India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has called for boycott of India’s group-stage encounter with Pakistan.
He also said that India are strong enough to progress to the next stage without playing against their arch-rivals.
“India should not play Pakistan in the World Cup. India are powerful enough to win the World Cup without having to play Pakistan,” Harbhajan Singh told Aaj Tak.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday called for severing all sporting ties with Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack, where 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed.
“This is a 10-team World Cup and each team plays matches against every other team. I feel if India doesn’t play a match in the World Cup, it won’t be an issue,” Ganguly told India TV.
“I feel it will be really difficult for ICC [International Cricket Council] to go on with a World Cup without India. But, you also have to see if India has the power to stop ICC from doing such a thing. But, personally I feel a strong message should be sent,” he added.