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Sun, 20 Oct 2019

Northeast Today

CoA to take call today on whether India should play Pakistan in World Cup

CoA to take call today on whether India should play Pakistan in World Cup
February 22
12:07 2019

NET Bureau

The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) — who on Thursday got a new colleague in Lt General (retd) Ravindra Thodge, former Master General Ordnance (MGO) of the Indian Army — will meet in New Delhi on Friday to take a call on whether India should play Pakistan in the 2019 ICC World Cup.

TOI reported on Thursday that the CoA has drafted a letter addressed to ICC chief Shashank Manohar, expressing concerns over playing against Pakistan. On Friday, the committee will convey its apprehensions to the external affairs ministry and the PMO and wait for “advice” before moving forward on whether or not to send the letter.

The draft of the letter demands that Pakistan be banned from participating in the World Cup, else India will recuse itself from the match with Pakistan on June 16.

Lt General Thodge, who is based in Nagpur, will not be able to attend the CoA meeting at such short notice.

However, TOI understands that the other two CoA members will seek his views on the crucial matter.

Stakes high in India-Pak match

What exactly do India stand to lose should they not play Pakistan in the World Cup? “Simple. Points (in the league stage) and forfeiture (in knockouts),” said an official. “If India don’t play Pakistan, or anybody for that matter, it is India’s loss. Pakistan will earn those points without playing if India forfeits. Forget legal implications and all, they really don’t matter,” he added.

Legalities will get involved only if the broadcaster decides to take up the matter with ICC. “The ICC could then legally take up the matter with BCCI. But that’s a long shot. Right now, that’s not the concern,” said those tracking developments.

For those wondering how much is an India vs Pakistan game worth, especially in a World Cup, here’s how a cricket industry executive put it: “If any match not featuring India is worth Rs 100, then any game featuring India (against any opposition) is worth Rs 150. A game featuring India vs Pak is worth Rs 200. Advertising revenue skyrockets for a game like this. And if India forfeits against Pakistan in the knockouts and bows out, every game that India could potentially have played post the forfeiture is an estimated loss.”

The members of the BCCI, meanwhile, are not comfortable with the CoA taking this decision and strongly believe the SC-appointed administrators should keep them in the loop.

What happens if India do not play Pak?

  • If India do not play the game, they will concede two points to Pakistan.
  • Those two points could be crucial to Pak’s fate in the championship. Indeed, it can play a decisive role in ensuring its qualification to the semis.

Here’s how that could happen

  • Only the top 10 cricket-playing countries have qualified for the event. The tournament is being played on a round-robin basis, which means all participating countries play each other once. Every country, therefore, will play nine games. The top four teams will qualify for the semifinals.
  • On form, consistency and current ICC rankings,world No. 1 England and No. 2 India (in that order) are firmly favoured to qualify for the semis. New Zealand (No. 3), South Africa (No. 4), Pakistan (No. 5) and Australia (No. 6) are expected to fight hard for the next two slots.
    • As per ICC rankings, the Kiwis and South Africans should be best-placed to take the other two positions. But it’s not as simple as it seems. Current world champion Australia will be a stronger unit with the return of David Warner even though world-beater Steve Smith remains doubtful for the tournament. Consistency has never been Pakistan’s strong point and Sarfraz Ahmed and company could find it difficult to make it to the last four stage. But the two free points could immensely help their cause.
    • What if that happens?

      If Pakistan qualify for the semis or the final, will India refuse to play them? That would mean either a free pass to the final or the Cup itself for Pakistan.

      Point to remember: Pakistan have never beaten India in an ODI WC game.

    • Have we ever done something similar? In the past, India have once boycotted a major international sports event. In 1974, India conceded the Davis Cup tennis final against apartheid-practising South Africa.

      If letter is sent, what can ICC do?

      • Ignore the letter and continue with the World Cup plans, leaving India to take the eventual call and face the possible ramifications – which will be the mostly likely step for ICC to take.
      • Table the letter to member boards and seek a vote – India, for the record, have lost one-side on the last two occasions that ICC sought the members vote
      • Change the format of the tournament – which is technically possible, but only if members vote for it.
    • Source: The Times of India



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