Let's keep cricket separate from politics, says IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla

Shukla feels Indian government will give a go-ahead for resuming cricket with Pakistan.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 27, 2015, 14:17 PM IST
Let's keep cricket separate from politics, says IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla

New Delhi: IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla pushed for resumption of cricket ties between India and Pakistan, saying the game should not be brought into political controversies.

BCCI is awaiting response from the Indian government on the fate of a much-talked-about series next month while Pakistan Cricket Board has got the clearance from their government.

"I am optimistic that the government will give the go-ahead to us. Both the parties (Boards) have agreed for Sri Lanka as a venue. The whole idea is to resume cricket between the two countries," Shukla said.

Asked about voices that oppose the resumption of cricket ties, Shukla said cricket should be kept separate from politics.

"From day 1 I have been maintaining that cricket should not be brought into political controversy. Even the (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee government had given the nod in worse situation for resumption of cricket. We had sent the Indian team to Pakistan. I think, we should play Pakistan," Shukla told Times Now.

Sri Lanka has emerged as the neutral venue for the planned series which is likely to have three ODIs and two T20s, tentatively scheduled between December 15 and first week of January.

Both countries have not played Test cricket since 2007 but Pakistan toured India in the winter of 2012-13 for a short limited-over series.

Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said: "I don't want to start a debate by giving a statement but if it is necessary in the national interest then they all have to take a decision keeping that in mind.

"I don't want to link any cricketing decisions with policy. I don't want to create unnecessary debate."

Union Minister Jitender Singh said: On this issue, ministry of foreign and home affairs has had discussions from time to time and after getting updates and new inputs, review opinions are formed. I don't want to comment on this because there is a cricket board, which takes decision and we don't have the sort of information which it possesses."

Congress leader Anand Sharma said: "This decision has to be taken by BCCI and PCB and the respective governments. It is our view that in any circumstances, people to people exchange or relations related to sports between India and Pakistan should not be broken."

Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly also said that irrespective of the political standings of the two nations cricket should not suffer.

"It would be nice if India will play Pakistan and sport should go on, I had said it before. I don't know about politics but cricket will be fantastic as they are both good sides, so cricket would be great," said Ganguly.