The India-Pak T-20 World Cup match slated for March 19, in Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh) is on schedule said the International Cricket Council (ICC), even as controversy simmered.
Viresh Shandilya, chief, Anti-Terrorist Front of India (ATFI) who has stridently opposed the matches, has threatened to dig up the pitch if the tie goes on. When asked over telephone about the heavy layer of security thrown around the stadium he simply said, "I have my ways. If the match is shifted to Kolkata then, we (ATFI) have plans for that too.”
Shandilya said that while he acceded that Pak players are not the same as terrorists, they come from a country which brings terror into India. “As ambassadors of Pak, they should impress upon the Pak Govt. to bring those in Pak responsible for terror in India to justice. They should do that if they truly love India.”
Getting even more strident, he claimed that we will not, “let these matches be played on the soil that has soaked the blood of Indian soldiers who have lost their lives fighting terror.”
He also added that PM Narendra Modi has a, “penchant for having debates on trivial issues, why did he not then have a debate and ask people for their opinion before visiting Pak and wishing Pak PM Nawaz Sharif for this birthday?” he asked, angrily." He said the ATFI is going to hold a dharna today, at a certain location to oppose the match.
With players becoming pawns on the political chessboard that is cricket, CLR James words though he said them in another context, resonate: ‘what do they know of cricket, who only cricket know?’