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T20 World Cup 2021: Clamour to cancel India-Pakistan grows amid violence

·3 min read

Political tensions between India and Pakistan have started to rise again as cricket teams from both nations gear up to clash in the 2021 T20 World Cup.

India are scheduled to begin their campaign on 24 October against arch-rivals Pakistan, but Union Minister Giriraj Singh has asked for 'reconsideration' as a result of the tense relationship between the two countries.

"I think if relations (between India and Pakistan) are not good then this should be reconsidered," Singh said on being asked if the India-Pakistan match should take place.

Congress leader and former hockey player Pargat Singh has also called for the high-octane clash to be cancelled as the situation at the border between India and Pakistan is not ideal.

The clamour to cancel the match comes on the heels of the targeted killings of Army personnel and civilians, especially non-locals, in Jammu and Kashmir in the last few days. Last week, nine Army personnel were killed in the Poonch and Rajouri districts in a counter-insurgency operation. On Sunday, two labourers were gunned down by terrorists in the Wanpoh area of Kulgam. Earlier, on Friday, a street food vendor from Bihar and a carpenter from Uttar Pradesh were shot dead by terrorists in the Union Territory.

A similar situation had risen ahead of India's match against Pakistan in the 2019 ODI World Cup. After the Pulwama attack that led witnessed the death of 40 Indian CRPF personnel, there were multiple demands to cancel the match. There were media reports that the BCCI wanted ICC to ban Pakistan from the 2019 World Cup.

"I agree that after this attack, India should not only stop playing cricket, hockey or football with Pakistan but should cut all ties with them," BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had said back then.

However, the match still went ahead and India won it by 89 runs. While the game took place, there were other fallouts. IMG Reliance pulled out from broadcasting the Pakistan Super League and DSports suspended the broadcast of the T20 league.

Meanwhile, a war of words has already begun between former cricketers before the match. Pakistan former pacer Shoaib Akhtar and Harbhajan Singh were recently involved in banter on Twitter. While #ban_pak_cricket also trended on the social platform.

Akhtar had recently shared pictures with Indian cricketing great Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev which won a lot of hearts.

The bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan have been suspended since the 2009 Mumbai terror attack. Both teams only face each other in ICC tournaments now.

India captain Virat Kohli had earlier played down the hype surrounding the India-Pakistan game terming it "another game of cricket."

"I have just approached this game as another game of cricket and I know there is a lot of hype around this game, more so with ticket sales and demands of tickets," the Indian captain said.

"... and right now, value of those tickets are ridiculously high and that's all I know, my friends are demanding tickets right left and centre and I am saying, 'no'."

"Apart from that, I don't think we can make anything extra out of this game and for us it's a game of cricket that has to be played in right spirit, in the way we know we can."

Also See: T20 World Cup 2021: Babar Azam says 10-match winning streak gives Pakistan the edge over India

T20 World Cup 2021: Pakistan 'know conditions really well' in UAE, says Babar Azam

T20 World Cup 2021: Sohaib Maqsood ruled out, Shoaib Malik named replacement

Read more on First Cricket News by Firstpost.

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