Even though BCCI secretary Amitabh Chaudhury had recently said that the board is exploring ways in which India doesn’t bump into arch-rivals Pakistan in the nine-team Test league, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor believes that Virat Kohli-led side should play against the neighbours. Tharoor, while speaking at a session named ‘Cricket as Indian democracy’s alter ego’, during a literary fest at New Delhi, said that things have changed since the ban was first imposed. “I do believe India and Pakistan should play cricket,” Tharoor said during the interaction which also included senior journalists Rajdeep Sardesai, Nalin Mehta and former Indian cricketer Bishen Singh Bedi.
“What we have seen that the BJP government has even met with them, their national security advisers met in Bangkok, our Prime Minister met with their Prime Minister in Kufa, then the Prime Minister went to Lahore and participated in a wedding ceremony, a birthday party and what not. So if all that could happen, why can’t we play cricket,” asked Tharoor. The senior Congress leader said that phase is over and there is no reason why cricket should be held hostage.
Tharoor said that we should expand the scope for people to people contact between India and Pakistan. Speaking in a similar tone, Rajdeep Sardesai said that the terror attacks haven’t stopped even though India stopped playing cricket with Pak. “Have terror attacks stopped by India and Pakistan not playing cricket with each other?” he asked.
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These statements from Tharoor came just four days after BCCI met sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Wednesday to discuss the potential inclusion of a series against Pakistan in the Future Tours Programme (FTP) as part of the upcoming ICC Test Championship. The ICC Test Championship got the green light recently from the International Cricket Council (ICC) and is aimed at bringing context and meaning to bilateral cricket
Speaking at the same fest yesterday, Tharoor had taken a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was quoted as saying, “4G is more important than Modiji.” While targetting the PM Modi-led government, Tharoor said, “No wonder they are talking of a New India because they made such a mess of the Old India.”