Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Anurag Thakur has requested the International Cricket Council (ICC) to not place India and Pakistan in the same group during upcoming international events.
“Keeping in mind that the [Indian] government has adopted a new strategy to isolate Pakistan and in view of the public sentiment in the country, we request ICC not to put India and Pakistan in the same pool of the multi-nation tournaments,” the BCCI president told Times of India.
The decision was taken on the sidelines of the BCCI’s Special General Meeting held on Friday.
Thakur’s statement comes in the wake of soaring tensions between the two neighbouring countries which led to India’s unprovoked firing at the Line of Control on Thursday, to which Pakistan Army retaliated in a befitting manner and captured one Indian soldier and killed eight others.
Because of the high viewership that Indo-Pak matches garner, the ICC has placed the two teams in the same pools over the years. The next ICC event, ICC Champions Trophy to be held in England next year, will also see the two teams contest each other at pool stage.
The arch-rivals last played during the ICC World T20 earlier this year that saw hosts India beat Pakistan by six wickets.
The two teams have not competed in the Test format since Pakistan’s tour of India in 2007. There’s been no bi-lateral series between the cricketing giants since, save Pakistan’s visit of India in 2012 for two T20Is and three One-Day Internationals.
It is worth mentioning that this is not the first instance that Thakur, who is associated with the hard-line Bharatya Janata Party (BJP), has taken such a route.
After the Uri attack that saw 18 Indian soldiers being killed by the militants, Thakur was reported by the Indian media as saying that there is no question of playing Pakistan as India’s policy is to expose their support of terrorists activities at the international level.