Would be shooting ourselves in the foot by boycotting Pakistan World Cup tie: Vinod Rai
CoA chief Vinod Rai. (IANS Photo)

Committee of Administrators chief Vinod Rai Sunday said the sporting community “needs to ostracise Pakistan” for fomenting terror activities just like South Africa was banned from international cricket due to the country’s policy on apartheid.

There had been calls to boycott India’s June 16 World Cup group league game against Pakistan in Old Trafford in the wake of Pulwama terror attack in which more than 40 CRPF personnel were killed. The BCCI has already written a letter to the ICC urging “all nations to sever ties with countries from which terrorism emanates”. But the former CAG wants to look at the bigger picture rather than just one match as there is a possibility that India may have to play them again in semi-final or final.

“We would be shooting in the foot if we don’t play Pakistan in the World Cup. Our aim should be to ostracise Pakistan as a cricketing nation. As I have said earlier, all cricketing nations should sever ties with them,” Rai told PTI.

He cited the example of South Africa, which was banned for 21 years from 1970 till 1991 due to the apartheid when black South Africans were racially discriminated. “I believe something similar needs to be done with Pakistan. They should be banned from all sporting activities just like it happened with South Africa,” Rai said.

The CoA chief also said that the matter will be officially tabled at the ICC chief executives meet during the quarterly conference in Dubai. The issue wasn’t a part of the agenda but now that BCCI has officially written a letter, and the matter will be up for discussion.

“The matter will be officially tabled at the ICC chief executives meet and Indian board will express its concern,” he said.

When asked whether a consensus can be built in order to isolate Pakistan in the sporting world, the veteran bureaucrat said that it is done at the political level. “It is done at the government level where you talk to other nations in order to build consensus,” he said.

Opinions have been divided on the calls for boycott with former India captain Sourav Ganguly and senior offspinner Harbhajan Singh wanting the June 16 match to be called off.

However, they haven’t clarified what happens if Pakistan make it to the semi-finals or the final. On the other hand, the two of the biggest names in Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar, want India to beat Pakistan as a walk over will mean giving two points on a platter to the arch rivals. Skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri have maintained that they will “abide by whatever decision government takes.