New Delhi: Five days after he stressed on the need to play cricket, engage with Pakistan, Board of Cricket for Control in India (BCCI) secretary Anurag Thakur has taken a U-turn on the burning issue.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Thakur said, “We cannot play cricket with Pakistan when people are dying on the border.”
“We want peace with neighbours. Even the prime minister Modi wants that. But Pakistan have to be serious on terror, “ Thakur told NDTV.
Earlier, speaking at The Indian Express Idea Exchange, the Lok Sabha MP from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh had said that the dialogues between the two countries could be improved only by engaging more.
“I think you have to take a call (on) whether there should not be any talks. Let other countries go to UN and let other boards go to ICC for decisions, but you have to decide if you want to engage with them. So I think you have to decide diplomatically what call to take. If you engage (with Pakistan), then you can raise the issue of terrorism as well as cricket as well as trade. But if you don’t engage, you give that opportunity to someone else,” said Thakur.
Thakur had also voiced his opinion saying since India were playing cricket with Pakistan in different tournaments, there's no point why they shouldn't play a bilateral series.
“We play Pakistan in the World Cup. We played them in the 2015 World Cup, we’ll play them next year in the Asia Cup. Then we’ll again play them in the month of March in World T20. So when you play them in a multinational tournament in world events, then what stops you from playing them in a bilateral series. So that’s the question we have to answer,” he said.
The final decision regarding the future of the series is pending with the Indian government after a green signal was given by Nawaz Sharif recently.
Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Rajeev Shukla had earlier confirmed that Sri Lanka had been decided as the neutral venue for the much-anticipated series between the neighbouring countries.
Notably, Najam Sethi was chairman of the board when the PCB and BCCI signed a MOU last year under which the two countries agree to play six series against each other between 2015 and 2023 with Pakistan hosting the first series in December this year in UAE.
India has not played a full bilateral Test series with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.