Boycotting Pakistan in the World Cup doesn’t solve anythingby Opinion Express February 25, 2019 0 comments
Is bringing geopolitics into sport an apt response to Pulwama attack? And is it worth boycotting in the World Cup?
Post Pulwama attack, there has been a lot of talks that have morphed into anger about what would be an apt response. The hyper-nationalists behind TV cameras would want us to go to war, in fact they would be the happiest if it started yesterday. However, as inevitable as a war with Pakistan might seem in the coming decade, the desperate bloodlust advocated by television anchors and some columnists would be a disaster. So more moderate voices have simply argued that India should punish Pakistan through economic means and a sporting boycott. And talk has started about India boycotting playing with Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup in England this summer.
This is patently a stupid idea according to some, including cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, but his former teammates, including Harbhajan Singh and Sourav Ganguly, have advocated that India boycott the match. Others have said that India should use its influence in the International Cricket Council (ICC) to enforce a global cricketing ban on Pakistan. Suggestions have also abounded that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) tell foreign players, who play in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), their domestic T20 tournament, and the Indian Premier League (IPL), to choose one of the two, with the money of the IPL almost ensuring that it will win out. As it is, Pakistani players are still banned from the IPL and India-Pakistan cricket ties are moribund other than the occasional game during an ICC tournament.
This paper feels that while intensifying an economic boycott of Pakistan through some actions — including asking foreign players to leave the PSL as well as reducing cultural ties between the two nations like preventing Pakistani artistes from plying their trade in Bollywood — are warranted, they will just intensify pressure on a country whose economy survives on Chinese and Saudi benevolence. This should be the way forward. Boycotting a match at the World Cup would, however, be a self-defeating move by the BCCI because India remains one of the favourites for the tournament and pulling out sends a pointless message. The boycotts of the 1980 and 1984 Olympics by American and Soviet bloc athletes respectively devalued those games, including India’s Gold in the Moscow Games, simply because we did not play with Pakistan.
India should continue to weaken Pakistan economically and socially. The fact is that Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product, which once stood equal to India’s, is less than half as that of India. In fact, Pakistan has been overtaken by Bangladesh economically. And while China has thrown money into Pakistan, it is becoming apparent that the Pakistani people will see little or no economic benefit. The Dragon will almost certainly decimate Pakistan’s balance of payments and likely gain a subservient economic colony. So yes, we should play Pakistan in the World Cup because in a few years time, they will be known as Pakistan, colony of China. And what will be the fun then?
Courtesy: The Pioneer